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Traffic congestion worsening in urban areas, mobility study says

The Texas Transportation Institute recently released its 2004 Urban Mobility Report, which studies 20-year traffic trends. The report showed that traffic congestion is increasing across the nation and cities are unable to address it.

The study ranked 85 urban areas with populations exceeding 500,000 people according to annual commuter delays, traffic congestion costs and fuel usage during traffic snarls.

Since 1982, annual commuter delays have increased from 16 hours to 46 hours and traffic congestion costs, from $14 billion to more than $63 billion. During the past year, 5.6 billion gallons of fuel were used while engines idled in traffic, according to the study, which named Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Dallas and Houston among the nation’s most traffic-congested cities.

The report also measures public transportation services available in the cities to help alleviate some of the congestion.

"We’re facing an increasingly urgent situation," said Tim Lomax, one of the study’s authors, in a prepared statement. "To make real progress, it’s critical that we pursue all transportation solutions — short range small scale projects and policies, mid-range efficiency programs and longer term, more significant projects and programs."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/10/2004