Traffic gridlock hits bottom
in second quarter of 2009
Sep 9, 2009 9:47 AM
INRIX, a provider of traffic and navigation services in North America, announced a mid-year INRIX National Traffic Scorecard special report, which found that traffic gridlock, during peak periods on major roads in urban America, had reached its low point in the second quarter of 2009 and has now started to increase.
Traffic congestion across the nation is rising due to signs of economic recovery, initial rollouts of highway construction projects funded by federal stimulus packages, and lower fuel prices. In fact, 64 of the top 100 most populated cities in the United States experienced increases in traffic congestion levels in early 2009. The annual INRIX Scorecard contains accurate and current information regarding overall congestion and bottlenecks on America’s major roadways, and is compiled using tens of billions of data points from INRIX’s network of more than one million GPS-enabled cars and trucks traveling across nearly one million miles of roads.
An especially interesting nugget from the Scorecard showed that Las Vegas experienced the biggest increase (2.4%) in travel times during peak commute periods year-over-year, most likely due to major construction along Interstate 15 that began in summer 2008. Other noteworthy increases include Baton Rouge (1.9%)—the only region that experienced travel time increases in 2008—and Washington DC (1.8%), seemingly unaffected by the nation’s economic turmoil of the past year.
Cities with the largest decrease in travel times include Ogden UT (-5.6%), Bridgeport CT (-4.5%), San Francisco CA (-2.8%), San Diego CA (-2.7%), and Chicago IL (-2.7%). Reasons for the drops in each region vary, for example, the completion of a major road construction project in late 2008 and improved winter weather in 2009 contributed to Ogden’s decrease, and softer economic conditions hit Chicago, where unemployment surpassed 11% in June 2009.
INRIX also analyzed and ranked the worst metro traffic bottlenecks across the nation and found that New York City, Los Angeles CA, and Chicago continued to dominate the rankings in commuting nightmares. Westbound on the Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95) in New York City remains the worst bottleneck in the nation, where traffic crawls more than 90 hours each week at an average of only 11 mph.
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