Well, if you think traffic congestion in the Washington D.C. area is worse than in other cities, you're right.
Researchers at Texas A&M compiled their report on congestion by examining millions of pieces of data sent by sensors in America's highways and major roadways. And by several different measures, traffic congestion in the Washington D.C. area is worse than it is anywhere else in the United States.
Among the highlights in the report: on average, motorists here lose 67 hours a year because of slow traffic, costing the average regional commuter an extra $1,400 a year. Both figures are significantly ahead of the time and costs of the next slowest regions: Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.
The data show freeway travel is particularly unreliable in the D.C. area, and we also produce more carbon dioxide emissions (per commuter) than any other American city.
Is there hope for our future? Maybe in Virginia, says the AAA's Lon Anderson.
"They're right now working on express lanes on I-95," explained Anderson. "I think when those connect to the Capital Beltway Express Lanes that they've already built from Tysons Corner over to Springfield, we might lose that number one status. I think there's that possibility."
Ron Kirby, who studies traffic at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, is not particularly optimistic about cutting local congestion.
"A lot of the problem is outside the Beltway, where we have suburban employment and residential growth and relatively little investment in road capacity or transit, for that matter," he said. "So, we're not keeping up with the growth."
Ah, growth. The region is expected to grow, both in terms of jobs and population, in coming decades. And as the nation recovers from the extended economic slowdown, that may add more traffic to America's roadways, including thoroughfares around here.
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