Commentary

SPOILIN’ THE BROTH

No surprise: Austin traffic is 4th worst in nation
Bill Cooke

Neighbor Grover sez he was taught to respect his elders but it’s getting harder to find any.

SA Today reported this week something that won't surprise any of you who commute to Austin regularly: Austin is the fourth worse city in the nation for wasting time in traffic.

Last year, said the report, the average American driver wasted 38 hours sitting in traffic.

For an impatient jackass like me, that would be unbearable. I even get fidgety sitting at one of Rockdale's three traffic lights.

Occasional traffic jams inconvenience most of us, but people who live in the nation's most congested cities average spending 42 hours a year in traffic.

Said USA Today: "INRIX, a traffic information and services group, collects data for individual road segments. In its 2012 Traffic Scorecard, INRIX calculated the amount of time that congestion added to drivers' peak-hour commute for each road. After aggregating these segments for each metropolitan area, it ranked the Los Angeles area as the city with the worst congestion in 2012. At peak hours, traffic on Interstate 405 in Los Angeles moved at just 14 miles per hour, adding 26 minutes to what should be an eight minute drive."

INRIX Traffic Scorecard rates the 10 cities with the worst traffic as follows:

10. Boston; 9. Washington DC; 8. Seattle; 7. San Jose; 6. Bridgeport, Conn.; 5. New York City; 4. Austin; 3. San Francisco; 2. Honolulu; 1. Los Angeles.

And here's the INRIX summary on nearby Austin:

4. Austin

• Congestion score: 20.7

• Population density: 406.7 people per sq. mile (70th highest)

• Average commute time: 25.8 minutes (45th highest)

• Pct. driving to work: 85.8% (47th lowest)

No met ro area with more than a million residents had a greater percentage increase in population from July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2012, than Austin's 3% growth, according to the Austin Statesman. This is hardly news for the area, which has expanded rapidly for more than a decade and, like much of the state, has been unable to expand transportation infrastructure to handle this growth.

In 2012, Austin was one of four metro areas with an INRIX index score higher than 20, well above the 6.6 score for the U.S. overall. It was also one of just six large metro areas in which the INRIX index score worsened compared to the year before.

And here's the INRIX summary on the nation's worst city for sitting in traffic, if you want to compare it to Austin:

1. Los Angeles

• Congestion score: 28.8

• Population density: 2,646.0 people per sq. mile (2nd highest)

• Average commute time: 28.6 minutes (15th highest)

• Pct. driving to work: 84.1% (38th lowest)

After being replaced by Honolulu for a year, Los Angeles once again earned the title of the most congested metro area in the country. In 2012, on a Friday at 5 p.m., the average driver wasted more than 28 minutes in traffic. Four of the 10 most congested corridors last year were in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Well, I guess sitting at one of Rockdale's three traffic lights for 50 seconds or so is not such a bad deal. Guess I’ll just chill.

“No you won’t,” said Pegaroo who is looking over my shoulder as I write this. “You’re an impatient jackass.”

“I already told them that,” I said.


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2013-05-09 digital edition



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