Lomax discusses traffic congestion
problems on ‘Today,’ in USA Today


A report, published by the Texas Transportation Institute, an agency of the Texas A&M University System, suggests too little progress is being made ensuring the nation's transportation system will be able to keep up with job growth when the economy improves.

The 2011 Urban Mobility Report, which documents increasing congestion on U.S. roads, was authored, in part, by Tim Lomax, a lecturer in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning at Texas A&M University.

“Congestion does more than choke our highways, it chokes our economy, making it harder to buy what we need and harder to keep or find a job,” Lomax says. “That's a bad thing — especially when our economic recovery is so fragile.”

Lomax discussed the study in a Sept. 27 “Today” show segment and in in a Sept. 28 USA Today report.

Among the study’s findings:

  1. The amount of delay endured by the average commuter was 34 hours, up from 14 hours in 1982;
  2. The cost of congestion is more than $100 billion, nearly $750 for every commuter in the U.S;
  3. “Rush hour” is six hours of not rushing anywhere;
  4. Congestion is becoming a bigger problem outside of “rush hour,” with about 40 percent of the delay occurring during midday and overnight hours, creating an increasingly serious problem for businesses that rely on efficient production and deliveries.

The study predicts that by 2015, the cost of gridlock will rise from $101 billion to $133 billion – more than $900 for every commuter, and the amount of wasted fuel will jump from 1.9 billion gallons to 2.5 billion gallons – enough to fill more than 275,000 gasoline tanker trucks.

The most economical and effective congestion solutions, say the study’s authors, involve traditional road building and transit use, combined with traffic management strategies such as signal coordination and rapid crash removal, and demand management strategies like telecommuting and flexible work hours. Land use and development patterns can play a positive role as well.

“Generally speaking, mobility investments in congested areas have a high return rate,” said Lomax. “If you invest in roads and transit, you get better service and access to more jobs.”

Lomax, a national authority on mobility, teaches a core class in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning’s transportation certificate program.


— Posted: Sep. 28, 2011—

— the end —

Contact:   Phillip Rollfing, prollfing@archone.tamu.edu or 979.458.0442.


Tim Lomax

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