PSRC takes closer look at Puget Sound congestion: It’s ugly.

The Puget Sound Regional Council recently released “Stuck in Traffic,” a look at the region’s transportation performance. (The link is to an easy-to-follow slide presentation.)

In The News Tribune, Matt Driscoll has a good overview.  

Despite no real increase in travel — or, in more official terms, the number of vehicle miles traveled — between 2010 and 2013, delays on the region’s freeways increased significantly in both general and high occupancy vehicle lanes, the report says. Delay across the region increased by 25 percent between 2013 and 2014.

He reviews the data and considers implications for the region and for Pierce County, which is beginning to accept more population from the north “as traffic in King County slips into a gridlock hellscape.” Driscoll’s conclusion, though draw from a regional perspective, is true statewide:

Unless we want to spend more and more time reading grim reports such as the one offered up by the regional council, now is the time to build for the future.

For more on state transportation issues, see the Opportunity Washington roadmap for expanding Washington’s culture of opportunity.

More evidence to support transportation funding now

The Seattle Times reports today that Seattle is the 5th most congested city in the U.S. This is according to a new study by TomTom. (We weren’t familiar with the company, either. It’s a global traffic navigation and mapping company.) 

Here’s the Seattle-specific page

1 TomTom Traffic Index


Opportunity Washington has additional information on the need for transportation investments and the return on investment. For example, here and here. From our research report: 

…if Washington doesn’t increase its investment in the preservation and maintenance of its roads and bridges and make improvements in key economic corridors, by 2026:

• Overall congestion statewide will rise to 109 million hours per year, costing drivers $940 annually.

• Sixty percent of state highway pavement will be rated in “poor” condition or worse, costing drivers $1,040 per year in vehicle maintenance costs. • Forty percent of bridges will be functionally obsolete or structurally deficient.

• Preservation and maintenance of existing highways will be nine times more expensive, escalating to $2.7 million per mile.

• Trade volumes at the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma will be flat or declining.

The return on investment is overwhelmingly positive and the data paint a stark picture of what will happen without action.

The evidence continues to pile up, just like traffic in the Puget Sound corridor.