Traffic—a source of frustration and heartache for many enduring a single-occupancy vehicle commute. Individual traveler’s time, money, and energy are annually consumed in large amounts by vehicle congestion in the Puget Sound area.
The 2009 Annual Mobility Report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) estimates the significant impact of congestion on the Puget Sound Region as follows*:
Annual excess fuel consumed—50,541 gallons total and 30 gallons per traveler
Annual delay—73,636 hours total and 43 hours per traveler
Annual congestion cost—$1,591 million total and $938 per traveler
Annual increase needed to maintain constant congestion levels: 87 lane miles added per year and 32 million transit riders or carpoolers each year.
These numbers are astounding, and demonstrate how your daily traffic delays add up to have a sizeable collective and personal impact. And while these seem to be an inevitable part of your commute, measures can be taken to reduce or eliminate delay and its associated costs and energy overconsumption. Here’s how:
- Consider alternate work arrangements. Check with your employer to see if your position is eligible for a telecommute or flexible scheduling option. In the longer-term, consider moving closer to your place of employment and biking or walking to work.
- Carpool or vanpool. Access High Occupancy Vehicle lanes (HOV) when traveling with two or more in your vehicle.
- Ride the bus (or train). Buses also travel in the much faster and more efficient HOV Lane, saving significant amounts of your time for other activities both during and after your commute.
- Support bus access and service for your region’s and city’s residents. TTI estimates that if all public transportation service were discontinued, Puget Sound area drivers would spend an average of 7 additional hours in traffic annually, with a cumulative congestion cost of $261.4 million.* While you may not choose to ride the bus, a fellow resident’s choice to do so reduces the delays you experience on your commute.
The daily grind of feeling trapped in your car behind an endless line of vehicles significantly impacts your quality of life. Expensive, resource consuming, and annoying, congestion is just another reason to kick your car, or at least your lengthy commute, to the curb.