Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What are the Characteristics of Traffic Congestion?

Traffic Scorecard (INRIX) Also discussed here: The 100 most congested cities in Europe and North America (The Guardian, Jul. 7, 2014)

And here: Economic & Environmental Impact of Traffic Congestion in Europe & the US (INRIX)

And here: Annual Cost of Gridlock in Europe and the US will Increase 50 Percent on Average to $293 Billion by 2030 (INRIX Press Release, Oct. 14, 2014)

And here: Key Findings (INRIX, 2013)

Today we review an analysis of traffic congestion in Europe and US/Canada carried out by INRIX which reveal a number of interesting trends and characteristics as well as a ranking of countries and cities where it is worse. Although many assume Canada and the USA are similar in many respects, in traffic congestion (and often in hockey) Canada is #1 as a country although its two of its biggest cities are #4 (Montreal) and # 10 (Toronto) – which means that its medium sized cities are likely more congested than their American counterparts. Traffic is highest during week-day rush hours but who knew that Tuesday morning and Friday afternoon were the worst? While Belgium’s congestion is the worst in Europe (followed by the UK, Holland and Italy) and North America, Milano, Italy tops the list as the most congested city (followed by Honolulu, London and Los Angeles). And, unchecked, it will get worse. Congestion cost individual drivers, on average, $1, 740 each year and this is predicted to more than double by 2030 to $2,902. Managing the flow of traffic in real-time is helped by the 80% of vehicles that will be able to monitor and manage traffic conditions by onboard GPS technology. This also suggests (to this reviewer at least) that an opportunity exists to apply real-time congestion charging as well to reduce peak flows and associated traffic-related air pollution.

  congestion by hour  

Key Quotes:

“The Inrix traffic-data company has raided its archives to calculate the most congested cities in Europe and North America, as well as the total number of hours wasted in traffic. Inrix looked at its records of real-time traffic on every road segment during peak hours (6am-10am and 3pm-7pm, Monday through Friday) to see how the actual speed every 15 minutes related to how fast traffic would have been if the road were free-flowing”

“The combined annual cost of gridlock to these countries [USA, UK, France, Germany] is expected to soar to $293.1 billion by 2030, almost a 50% increase from 2013” “At the individual level, traffic congestion cost drivers $1,740 last year on average across the four countries. If unchecked, this number is expected to grow more than 60% to $2,902 annually by 2030”

“The overall economic impact is greatest in the U.S. where the estimated cumulative cost of traffic congestion by 2030 is $2.8 trillion – the same amount Americans collectively paid in U.S. taxes last year….However the UK (at 66%) and London (at 71%) will see the greatest annual rise in the cost of congestion by 2030, mainly as a result of seeing the highest increase in urbanization”

“Future roads will not be built with concrete as much as they’ll be built with software. It’s time to apply what we’ve learned from building the Internet highway to build a smarter transportation networks. .. 80 percent of cars on the road in the U.S. and Western Europe will be connected and a source of real‐time data by 2017… we have a unique opportunity to manage the flow of people and commerce as efficiently as we direct the flow of data over our IT networks today”

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