Nebraska has one city that currently suffers from severe congestion, which this study identifies as those areas with Travel Time Indices (TTIs) of 1.18 or higher. The Omaha area in eastern Nebraska is tied with three other areas (Nashville, Jacksonville, and Fort-Myers-Cape Coral) as the 49th most congested region in the United States, with a Travel Time Index (TTI) of 1.18. This means that driving times during peak traffic are 18 percent longer than during off-peak times.
Unless major steps are taken to relieve congestion, drivers in this part of Nebraska can expect to see a TTI of 1.36 by 2030. For an idea of how severe that level of congestion would be, note that this projection is comparable to the traffic delays experienced today in places like Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Baltimore. But Nebraska can significantly reduce these congestion problems by adding about 966 new lane-miles by 2030 at an estimated cost of $1.7 billion in today's dollars.
This investment would save an estimated 11 million hours per year that are now lost sitting in traffic, at a yearly cost of $6.20 per delay-hour saved. This does not account for the additional benefits not quantified in this study, including: lower fuel use, reduced accident rates and vehicle operating costs, lower shipping costs and truck travel time reductions, greater freight reliability, and a number of benefits associated with greater community accessibility, including an expanded labor pool for employers and new job choices for workers.
As Table 33 shows, the other urban area in Nebraska with a population over 50,000, Lincoln, is currently much less congested than Omaha, with a TTI of 1.05. However, the relative increase in delay projected over the next 25 years for Lincoln is 100 percent, which will be sharply felt by local commuters. (The 'delay' in the travel time is the portion of the TTI over 1.0.) With a TTI of 1.10, Lincoln is facing future traffic delays similar to those currently experienced in much larger cities like Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland.
This information is excerpted from A Detailed State-by-State Analysis of Future Congestion and Capacity Needs and Building Roads to Reduce Traffic Congestion in America's Cities: How Much and at What Cost?
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