Metro reaction to Urban Mobility Report on traffic congestion

Metro Board Chairman Don Knabe has issued a statement in reaction to Texas Transportation Institute’s 2010 Urban Mobility Report on traffic congestion.

The Texas Transportation Institute’s congestion report released this morning serves as a warning bell for the region that we must continue our efforts to improve mobility options as the nation begins to see the economy recovering and congestion increasing.

Clearly, the report shows some good news: LA County is ranked #1 for operational improvements that have reduced 63 million hours of annual delay, resulting in cost savings of $1.5 billion. Equally important is the fact that the region ranks # 4 in the nation in terms of transit improvements, annually reducing 33 million hours of delay and $733 million because of our bus and rail transportation system.

While it certainly is no surprise that LA County suffers from traffic congestion, it is important to note that over the last 20 years we have managed to hold steady even though the county’s population has grown by 1.5 million people. We’ve done so through the expansion of our rail and bus network, the addition of carpool lanes to area freeways and aggressive outreach programs to get people to rideshare by joining a large network of car and vanpools to combat congestion.

As the economic recovery continues and congestion begins to rise, it is important that we implement additional transportation improvements through Measure R, LA County’s half-cent sales tax initiative. Overwhelmingly approved by county voters, who have voted to tax themselves three times in the last three decades, it sends a clear signal that they are fed up with traffic congestion and are willing to pay for traffic relief. The Metro Board has responded by adopting the 30/10 initiative, which will bring these vital transportation improvement projects to life in 10 years, instead of 30 years.

We hope that officials in Washington will be moved into action by this congestion report, recognize the economic toll traffic takes and how investment in operational improvements, public transportation and other rideshare programs can, and is, making a substantial difference in Los Angeles County.

Here is a link to the news release issued by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA): Public Transportation Relieves Traffic Congestion

4 replies

  1. @Robert George – I’m confused by your objections.

    It is true that some of the reduction in congestion is due to the economic downturn. But not all of it. In the report you will see that not all areas had the same reduction in congestion even though they experienced similar downturns.

    “Monetizing ‘lost time'” is actually a pretty established principle. Google “cost of congestion”. By its nature, the numbers assigned to this are very rough estimates subject to all sorts of assumptions. But it is absolutely valid to say that time has value and that time “lost” in congestion is not only a personal loss to the individual but also has economy wide impacts due to lost productivity. Finally, there are road, maintenance, health, etc. costs associated directly with congestion.

    Of course we could theoretically build enough roads that there wouldn’t any congestion, but I don’t see how that defeats the argument that congestion has a cost.

    Of course LA will always have traffic. But there are ways to expand, change, design our transportation system that will improve it/prevent it from getting worse. Different designs will have different costs and benefits. Part of the point of doing things like assigning a “price” to congestion (even if that number is somewhat theoretical) is so that you can make decisions based on some rational criteria rather than just of some guy’s opinion of what would be good.

  2. Wow that’s a dumb response.

    We’ve saved $1.5 billion due a decrease in congestion? Why don’t we root for 20% unemployment, that would solve our congestion “problem.”

    Beyond that, the fact that you can monetize “lost time” is an even bigger joke. We could technically build enough infrastructure take the same length of time as non-peak, so no money is “lost.”

    But what would our region look like if 90% of the land is for transportation infrastructure that we’ve spent hundreds of billions on?

    LA has traffic. It’s a big, successful place.

  3. Transit improvement, How come I don’t feel it.
    Reducing the delay. how do they calculate? They just calculate the people live/work/socialize near rail.

    I think a lot car drivers don’t agree on this.

    Expanding rail network, yes,
    Expanding bus network, MTA has reduced many

    Another lie from MTA