Rush hour delays have tripled since 1982

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A study of U.S. urban areas indicates the annual delay from rush hour traffic nearly has tripled since 1982.

The cost of delays is valued at $72.65 per truck hour, $13.75 per person hour.

The Texas Transportation Institute’s 2005 Urban Mobility Report measures traffic congestion trends from 1982 to 2003. The annual delay per rush hour traveler increased from 16 hours to 47 hours from 1982 to 2003.

The annual price tag of congestion in the United States is $1.7 billion, the institute said.

Congestion must be addressed systematically by building more roads and public transportation systems and operating them efficiently, said Tim Lomax, TTI research engineer. Variable pricing at existing toll facilities and additional truck-only lanes are necessary, too, Lomax said.

“There is no single solution that can reverse the growth in congestion,” Lomax said.

The number of urban areas with more than 20 hours of annual delays per rush hour traveler grew from 5 in 1982 to 51 in 2003.

The Bush administration released a statement from Mary Peters, head of the Federal Highway Administration, that the report “offers more proof that surface transportation reauthorization is long overdue.” A six-year transportation bill has been pending in Congress for years, necessitating a series of funding extensions.

Bush’s proposed 2006 budget eliminates all funding for the most visible federal public-transit program, Amtrak.

More information on the TTI study is at http://mobility.tamu.edu.