Out of Control Policy Blog

2009 Urban Mobility Report Released by Texas Transportation Institute

The Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University released its much awaited 2009 Urban Mobility Report today. The report covers traffic trends and congestion from 1982 to 2007. While the report doesn't cover the traffic slow down in 2008, the authors note that the problem will come back in full force once the economy turns around.

Among the highlights of this year's report:

  • The overall cost (based on wasted fuel and lost productivity) reached $87.2 billion in 2007 – more than $750 for every U.S. traveler.
  • The total amount of wasted fuel topped 2.8 billion gallons – three weeks' worth of gas for every traveler.
  • The amount of wasted time totaled 4.2 billion hours – nearly one full work week (or vacation week) for every traveler.

Notes Tim Lomax, one of the study's co-authors:

And even though the problem has leveled off somewhat, we shouldn't expect it to be a trend, the researchers say, because an otherwise steady trend over 25 years has been interrupted only by – you guessed it – a recession. "The northeastern states and Texas in the mid-1980s and California in the 90s are three regions that give us an idea what to expect," Lomax says. "In each of those cases, when the economy rebounded, so did the traffic problem."

Samuel Staley is Research Fellow


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