Friday, October 5, 2007

Honk for Hot Lanes

New ideas needed to prevent Arizona from drowning in a sea of traffic

By Byron Schlomach, Ph.D.

The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) has released its latest Urban Mobility Report. The good news is that Phoenix is not the most congested city measured (15th worst out of the 85 areas examined). The bad news is that congestion is getting worse and it is costing Phoenicians lost time and wasted fuel.

Phoenix's travel time index is 1.31, meaning it takes the average commuter 31 percent longer to complete a trip here than it would take without congestion. That averages to 48 hours of delay per traveler each and every year. Each year, congestion costs the average Phoenix commuter two full days of time and 34 gallons of gas.

Unfortunately, the solutions being offered by city leaders are out of gas. According to a TTI summary for Phoenix, the city would have to move about a half million more daily riders into transit or carpool lanes every year in order to maintain current congestion levels. Alternatively, the city could add 412 lane miles per year.

The impracticality and expense of these options make them unrealistic. Congestion pricing, public-private partnerships to get roads built quickly, and giving up on costly and ineffective mass transit plans are among the key steps that are needed to confront Arizona's traffic challenge.

Dr. Byron Schlomach is the director of the Center for Economic Prosperity at the Goldwater Institute.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If this administration, together with legislators, decided to effectively enforce the laws on the books regarding legal compliance to use our roadways we would have access capacity and some breathing room to plan for the future. Unfortunately, it seems as though re-election is more important than resolution. The technology to get the job done is here and affordable. The tools need to be available to law enforcement to do the job efficiently, then we wouldn't need toll roads at all.