Data: Congestion adds six (6) minutes to commute?

At a meeting of  of PCAs I used data from INRIX to make a point about Atlanta’s traffic congestion. I was questioned as to where the information came from. Below is the column by Kyle Wingfield in the AJC that raises the issue.

Note that this data deals with “congestion” not traffic accidents or construction delays.

The latest INRIX Traffic Scorecard, updated this week with data through April, shows traffic congestion increases the average commute in metro Atlanta by only about 10 percent — less than six minutes a day.

Let me repeat that: Congestion adds less than six minutes to the average metro Atlanta commute. And to reduce — not eliminate — that six-minute problem, we are asked to tax ourselves an extra $7.2 billion in 10 years.

If you’ve driven a car around here, right about now you may be thinking these figures are baloney. So let me briefly explain where they come from.

INRIX, based in Washington state, tracks traffic data in America’s 100 largest urban areas, including metro Atlanta (it defines each region the same way the Census Bureau does). It does this by collecting information about drive times from 100 million truck drivers, taxis, airport shuttles, delivery vehicles and motorists who use its smartphone app in 30 countries. It then sells the relevant data to federal and state transportation agencies, including the Georgia DOT, said Jim Bak, co-author of the scorecard.

INRIX compares drive times when traffic flows freely to those at rush hour, then calculates the amount of “wasted hours” congestion adds to the average commute.

In Atlanta, based on the latest data, commuters would drive 241.9 hours each year — almost 56 minutes each workday — even if traffic always flowed freely. Congestion adds 25.4 hours a year, or almost six minutes a day.

Read more: T-SPLOST: Is traffic really a problem in Atlanta?

 

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