Thursday, December 03, 2009

Puget Sound Traffic Getting Better, but Worst in Nation, Studies Find

Two reports released this week suggest that traffic congestion in the Puget Sound region is getting better, but it’s still the worst congestion in the country.

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation’s 2009 Annual Congestion Report (pdf, 1.7 mb ), in 2008 drivers in Washington state experienced (per capita) one hour less congestion compared to 2006. The report credits high gas prices, the economic downturn, and successful congestion fighting strategies with the decreases. While the news is good in the short-term, WSDOT predicts congestion will return as the economy improves. A summary of the findings is available on the WSDOT website.

Although congestion is down, that doesn’t mean commutes are good. A study by TomTom, a global positioning company found that Seattle has the worst traffic congestion of the 30 largest US cities, with 43 percent of the city’s roads having “heavy delays,” the Puget Sound Business Journal reports.. The company ranked cities as most to least congested according to how fast cars could travel on the street network. Traffic was defined as congested if drivers could travel at only 70 percent or less of the posted speed limit, and an average hour-long commute included 20 minutes or more of significant delays, according to TomTom.

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