Los Angeles Drivers Waste Most Time In Rush-Hour Traffic
WASHINGTON, D.C — Congestion delayed travelers 79 million more hours and wasted 69 million more gallons of fuel in 2003 than in 2002, the Texas Transportation Institute's 2005 Urban Mobility Report found, according to a report by KNBC. Overall in 2003, there were 3.7 billion hours of travel delay and 2.3 billion gallons of wasted fuel for a total cost of more than $63 billion. "Urban areas are not adding enough capacity, improving operations or managing demand well enough to keep congestion from growing," the report concluded.
Still, seven of 13 major cities saw their annual delays per rush-hour traveler actually go down slightly: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Miami, New York, Houston and Philadelphia. In Los Angeles, yearly rush-hour delays for each motorist declined from 98 hours in 2002 to 93 hours a year later, but were still longer than any other city in the country. San Francisco had the nation's second-longest delays, declining from 75 hours in 2002 to 72 hours in 2003.
Honolulu, meanwhile, became the 51st city in which rush-hour traffic delayed the average motorist at least 20 hours a year. The Hawaiian capital joins such congested areas as Washington, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago – and Virginia Beach, Va., Omaha, Neb., and Colorado Springs, Colo.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials estimated it would take as much as $400 billion in federal spending over the next six years to solve traffic problems, based on a 2002 study.
Roads aren't being built fast enough to carry all the people who now drive on them, according to the Transportation Development Foundation, a group that advocates transportation construction. The number of vehicle miles traveled has increased 74 percent since 1982, but road lane mileage only increased 6 percent, the foundation said.
Congestion can also be reduced by managing traffic better. The report said such techniques as coordinating traffic signals, smoothing traffic flow on major roads and creating teams to respond quickly to accidents reduced delay by 336 million hours in 2003.
Robert Dunphy, senior resident fellow for transportation at the Urban Land Institute, said that half of all traffic delays are caused by car crashes. "There are huge benefits to getting in there and clearing accidents quickly," Dunphy said.