Policy Study

Mobility Project – State-by-State Analysis of Future Congestion and Capacity Needs – Connecticut

Reason Foundation
Mobility Project

Traffic Congestion in America’s Cities


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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.


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To significantly reduce today’s severe congestion and prepare for growth expected by 2030, Connecticut needs just over 1,600 new lane-miles at a total cost of $3.4 billion, in today’s dollars. That’s a cost of approximately $45 per resident each year. Connecticut ranks 20th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of most lane-miles needed and 21st in the total costs of those improvements. If the state made these improvements, it would save over 56 million hours per year that are now wasted in traffic jams.

Connecticut has several areas suffering from severe congestion. The Bridgeport-Stamford area in the southwestern part of Connecticut is the 29th most congested region in the United States, with a Travel Time Index (TTI) of 1.29. This means that driving times during peak traffic are 29 percent longer than during off-peak times.

Unless major steps are taken to relieve congestion, drivers in this part of Connecticut can expect to see a TTI of 1.62 by 2030. For an idea of how severe that level of congestion would be, note that this projection is worse than the traffic delays experienced today in places like Atlanta, Chicago, and San Francisco. In fact, only one city—Los Angeles—currently has a TTI in excess of 1.62.

As Table 12 suggests, the picture is not much better for New Haven or Hartford. Connecticut can significantly reduce congestion by adding about 1,600 new lane-miles by 2030 at an estimated cost of $3.4 billion in today’s dollars.

This investment would save an estimated 56 million hours per year that are now lost sitting in traffic, at a yearly cost of $2.41 per delay-hour saved. The annual cost to relieve severe congestion in the Bridgeport-Stamford area alone is significantly lower, at $1.19 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.

Several of Connecticut’s other cities, such as Waterbury, Danbury, Norwich, and New London are currently less congested than those along the southwestern leg of I—95. However, the relative increase in delay projected over the next 25 years for these cities is over 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 TTIs of 1.10, small cities like Waterbury and New London are facing future traffic delays similar to those currently experienced in much larger cities like Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland.

(click here for larger image)

» Return to Index Page: Study, State-By-State Data, Maps
» Return to Interactive Map of Traffic U.S. Congestion Statistics and Construction Needs

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?

Additional Resources:
» Reason Foundation’s Mobility Project Main Page
» Reason Foundation’s Transportation Research and Commentary
» Reason Foundation’s Press Room

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