Sunday, December 04, 2011

How WA Fares in Congestion Report

The Texas Transportation Institute has just (November 2011) released its annual Congested Corridors Report

Unfortunately, Western Washington made almost all the Top 40 hits list!

The Congested Corridors Report (2010 data) includes an analysis of 328 specific (directional) freeway corridors in the U.S.  These corridors account for:
  • 6 % of national urban freeway lane-miles
  • 36% of urban freeway delay
  • 33% of urban freeway truck delay
Each directional, adjacent and upstream segment of roadway that was congested for four hours per week was included in the corridor.  The minimum corridor length was three miles.

The Report measures reliability (how much the problems change day to day), extra travel time, increased fuel consumption and congestion costs. 

The stated purpose of the study is to understand how, when and where congestion occurs – as a tool to understanding what can be done.  Their conclusion:  all the potential congestion-reducing strategies are needed:  capacity and productivity.

Here’s how Washington State ranked against the Top 40 congested highway corridors throughout the nation.

Reliably Unreliable
Unreliability is the most disturbing problem. A predictable transportation system is important to motorists and goods movers. Reliability describes the extra time you add to each trip to ensure you will be on time – when you simply can’t be late. The Federal Highway Administration has been moving towards a greater focus on performance management in its programs. 

Area         Corridor       Endpoints                 Length      Natl Rank
Tacoma     I-5 SB         Exit 128- Exit 120    7.9 mi.         # 40

Congestion Leaders
This category ranks corridors by the annual delay per mile.  Considered are annual gallons of waster fuel and the annual congestion costs associated with fuel and delay.

Area         Corridor       Endpoints                 Length      Natl Rank
Seattle       I-5 SB        Exit 175- Exit 165    8.9 mi.         # 33

Morning Peak
This category shows corridors with the largest delay per mile in the morning peak (6am to 10 am).  It uses the same measures as the Congestion Leaders category, but only measured during the morning peak.

Area         Corridor       Endpoints                 Length      Natl Rank
Seattle      I-5 NB         Exit 161- Exit 164    4.1 mi.         # 35

Afternoon Peak
This is the category for the worst afternoon peaks (3 pm to 7 pm).  Again, it uses the same measures as the Congestion Leaders category, but only for the afternoon hours.

Area         Corridor       Endpoints                 Length      Natl Rank
Seattle       I-405 SB    Exit 14- Exit 10        4.5 mi.         # 21

Lunch Breaks
This is the midday hours congestion category, for the 10 am to 3pm time period.  Again, it uses the same measures at the Congestion Leaders category, but only for this midday time.

Area         Corridor       Endpoints                 Length      Natl Rank
Seattle      I-5 NB         Exit 161- Exit 164    4.1 mi.         # 19

Area         Corridor       Endpoints                 Length      Natl Rank
Seattle       I-5 SB        Exit 175- Exit 165    9.0 mi.         # 22
This is the rarest category, as weekend congestion is rarely a stop-and-go situation on Saturdays and Sundays.  It’s usually occurring at major shopping areas, sporting venues and other recreational activity centers.   Like before, the measures are the same as for Congestion Leaders, but based on traffic during the weekends.

Area         Corridor       Endpoints                 Length      Natl Rank
Tacoma     I-5 NB        Exit 129- Exit 133    4.2 mi.         # 11

Area         Corridor       Endpoints                 Length      Natl Rank
Seattle       I-5 NB        Exit 161- Exit 164    4.1 mi.         # 29

This category includes the amount of daily truck travel on each corridor. While it uses the same measures as the Congestion Leaders category, it is based entirely on truck travel. 

Area         Corridor       Endpoints                 Length      Natl Rank
Seattle       I-5 SB       Exit 175- Exit 165    9.0 mi.         # 37

One-Hit Wonders
Their (last and final) fanciful category includes urban areas that have only one or two corridors included in the Congested Leaders category.  Unfortunately, our area did not make this list.

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