October 22


INRIX Congestion Study

By Mike Spack

October 22, 2008

In June I had a post about INRIX's study that placed the Twin Cities as the 13th most congested metropolitan area in the United States based on 2007 data.  INRIX is releasing an update to their report today which looks at travel data from January through June of 2008.  A few highlights from the press release:

  • 96 of the nation’s top 100 markets (by population) had
    drops in traffic congestion levels in the first half of 2008 compared to 2007,
    with a 3% nationwide average decrease in travel times during peak
  • 75% of Midwesterners decreased their amount of driving,
    compared to those in the Northeast (60%), South (67%), and West (61%) [Harris
    Interactive survey]
  • The average retail price of gasoline increased dramatically from $2.29
    in January 2007 to $4.09 in June 2008, however prices began to plummet
    in the third quarter with an average of $3.30 during the week of
    October 10, 2008
  • Those making less than $35K were most likely to have decreased their
    driving 76%, compared with 68% of those earning $35K to $74.9K, to just
    57% for those earning $75K and higher
  • "It is fascinating to see the disproportionate response that the impact
    of gas prices has on traffic, particularly how consumers changed their
    behavior more in markets like Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and
    throughout the Midwest. You would think that major metros with
    significant public transit infrastructure such as in NYC and D.C. would
    have shown a much stronger correlation with gas prices through
    increased ridership,” said Bryan Mistele, INRIX founder and CEO.
    "Although we can't predict the future price of fuel, we can predict the
    potential impacts to traffic congestion. As a whole, the population
    appears to have made lasting changes to their behavior, which we expect
    to persist at some level even if gas prices revert to pre-2007 levels.”

The full report hasn't been released yet, so you'll have to check it out later today or tomorrow to see where your metropolitan area lands in the rankings.

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Mike Spack

My mission is to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.

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