|How bad will traffic congestion be in 2030? How much construction and how many new lane miles will each state and major city need to add over the next 25 years to prevent severe congestion? And how much will it all cost? The Reason Foundation study Building Roads to Reduce Traffic Congestion in America’s Cities: How Much and at What Cost? and its addendum, A Detailed State-by-State Analysis of Future Congestion and Capacity Needs, provide in-depth answers to these questions. An interactive map ranking the states by congestion and costs to reduce traffic is here and a map of the most congested cities is here.
|[view other states]
To significantly reduce today’s severe congestion and prepare for growth expected by 2030, Indiana needs almost 2,270 new lane-miles at a total cost of $3.1 billion, in today’s dollars. That’s a cost of approximately $51 per resident each year. Indiana ranks 14th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of most lane-miles needed and 26th in the total costs of those improvements. If the state made these improvements, it would save 28 million hours per year that are now wasted in traffic jams.
Indiana 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 capital city of Indianapolis is the 32nd most congested region in the United States (sharing this ‘honor’ with Louisville), with a TTI of 1.24. This means that driving times during peak traffic are 24 percent longer than during off-peak times.
Unless major steps are taken to relieve congestion, drivers in Indianapolis can expect to see a TTI of 1.42 by 2030. For an idea of how severe that level of congestion would be, note that this projection is equivalent to the traffic delays experienced today in Houston and Miami. Indeed, only five cities across the United States have worse traffic: Atlanta, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles. But Indiana can significantly reduce this congestion problem by adding about 2,270 new lane-miles by 2030 at an estimated cost of $3.1 billion in today’s dollars.
This investment would save an estimated 28 million hours per year that are now lost sitting in traffic, at a yearly cost of $4.41 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 20 suggests, the other cities in Indiana with populations over 50,000 are currently much less congested than Indianapolis and have reasonable TTIs in the 1.04—1.05 range. However, the relative increase in delay projected over the next 25 years for these cities is 75—100 percent, which is actually as high or higher than the Indianapolis area’s 75 percent increase. (The ‘delay’ in the travel time is the portion of the TTI over 1.0.) Such significant increases will be sharply felt by local commuters. With projected TTIs of 1.08—1.10, cities like Terre Haute, Fort Wayne, and South Bend are facing future traffic delays similar to those currently experienced in the much larger cities of Dayton, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh, respectively.
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?