Our Boca Raton accident attorneys were not surprised by the latest Texas Transportation Institute study regarding mobility in South Florida.
Now that the economy is improving, traffic congestion is on the rise. During the recent economic downturn of 2007 & 2008, gas prices were high and folks weren’t working so traffic congestion was at a decade low.
The 2010 Urban Mobility Report looks at traffic congestion on a city-by-city basis, and tourism and winter residents are expected to continue adding to the congestion issues facing South Florida.
Nationally in 2009, almost 4 billion gallons of fuel were wasted idling in traffic. It would take the flow of the Alaska Pipeline 130 days to produce that same amount. Commuters spent 34 hours sitting in traffic in 2009; compared to 14 hours in 1982. The cost of time and extra fuel from traffic congestion wasted $808 for each motorist in 2009.
South Florida was placed in a group of the 15 largest urban areas for this report. South Florida commuters were above the national average spending 39 hours stuck in traffic. A lot has changed since 1982 when the time wasted in traffic was only 10 hours per year. All that sitting guzzled up more than 30 gallons of extra fuel per motorist. The cost of congestion to South Florida commuters was on average about $892 per person.
The study showed that rush hour trips are shorter in Dallas, Atlanta and Phoenix than here. But Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles commuters spend more time in traffic.
A company was used for the first time to gather hour-by-hour speed data. This data is obtained from police scanners, trucks, road sensors and cell phones that have GPS tracking devices. During a recent press conference, researchers from Texas Transportation Institute were extremely pleased about how technology has improved their ability to gather data.
“We have a great deal more confidence in the numbers we now have for the chaotic years of 2007, 2008 & 2009,” researcher Shawn Turner said. “Thanks to technology, we are using data that simply could not have been gathered a few years ago.”
Each year, such technology permits a clearer picture of the costs of congestion.
“This year’s report is a remarkable game changer,” researcher David Schrank explained. “The new data address the biggest shortcoming of previous reports. The data show conditions for every day of the year and include the effect of weather problems, traffic crashes, special events, holidays, work zones and other factors directly impacting traffic flow.”
It was suggested that changing our patterns could help with traffic congestion. Perhaps traveling at non-peak hours or carpooling with other employees could make urban cities become more mobile and less congested.