Traffic congestion continues to worsen in American cities of all sizes, creating a $78 billion annual drain on the U.S. economy in the form of 4.2 billion lost hours and 2.9 billion gallons of wasted fuel, according to the Texas Transportation Institute’s 2007 Urban Mobility Report.
The report is based on 2005 figures, the most recent year for which complete data was available, and measures congestion in all 437 of the nation’s urban areas.
The report identifies multiple solutions to the congestion problem, including: get as much service as possible from existing infrastructure; add road and transit system capacity in critical corridors; change usage patterns; provide choices; and diversify the development patterns.
“We need more and better public transportation,” said APTA President William W. Millar in reaction to the report. “Unfortunately, public transportation is not readily available in all regions of the country. Only 53 percent of Americans say that they have access to any public transportation.”
Pointing out that even someone who never rides a bus or a train benefits from public transportation, Millar said, “A comprehensive public transportation system is something that everyone should support in their community as it helps to reduce congestion and saves energy.”