|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.|
|New Mexico||[view other states]|
To significantly reduce today’s severe congestion and prepare for growth expected by 2030, New Mexico needs just over 550 new lane-miles at a total cost of $1.4 billion, in today’s dollars. That’s a cost of approximately $60 per resident each year. New Mexico ranks 35th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of most lane-miles needed and 34th in the total costs of those improvements. If the state made these improvements, it would save almost 11 million hours per year that are now wasted in traffic jams.
New Mexico has one city that currently suffers from borderline severe congestion, which this study identifies as areas with Travel Time Indices of 1.18 or higher. The Albuquerque area in central New Mexico is the 53rd most congested region in the United States, with a Travel Time Index (TTI) of 1.17. This means that driving times during peak traffic are 17 percent longer than during off-peak times.
Unless major steps are taken to relieve congestion, drivers in the Albuquerque area 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 equivalent to the traffic delays experienced today in places like Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Baltimore. But New Mexico can significantly reduce these congestion problems by adding 550 new lane-miles by 2030 at an estimated cost of $1.4 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 $5.14 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 38 suggests, the picture is much better for the other three cities in New Mexico with populations over 50,000—Las Cruces, Santa Fe and Farmington—which all have TTIs in the 1.04 range. However, the relative increase in delay projected over the next 25 years for these cities is 75—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.)
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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?