Boston Road Congestion Worsens

Boston traffic is bad. Commuter congestion is increasing in Boston. Boston was ranked fourth among large urban areas in “wasted hours” with 48 hours wasted by commuters in Boston 2009. The average American commuter spent 34 extra hours per year commuting in 2009, verses 14 hours in 1982.

Chicago and Washington DC drivers wasted 70 hours per year due to congestion. Unfortunately, Boston’s rank went from 6th, in 1982, to 4th in 2009. In a study by The Texas Transportation Institute, and sponsored by various national education and research foundations, entitled the 2010 Urban Mobility Report.
Among the report’s conclusions are that Americans waste 3.9 billion gallons of fuel, at a cost of $115 billion (compared to $24 billion in 1982) as a result of urban congestion. And the trend is worsening. With the economy expected to heat up, the expectations of the researchers is that congestion will worsen.
Trucks account for 30% of urban “congestion invoice” but only 7% of the miles traveled in urban areas. Trucks tied up in congestion result in adding costs to consumers. This is an area in which there are many suggested ways for improvement, according to the study.
What do the researchers recommend? They call for a “balanced and diversified approach to reduce congestion.” They note that each region needs its own special mix of answers. The simple solutions include rapidly removing crashed vehicles to improving road and intersection design, to adding short sections of roadway where needed. More complex solutions include adding road lanes or highways, expanding public transportation, and encouraging flexible work hours.