Are You Driving Less?
Three transportation items today will interest you:
1) Staff writer Chris L. Jenkins says that, according to a study released today by the Metropolitan Council of Governments, our traffic may be loosening up. That's not because we figured out something new about traffic management or got more solo drivers out of their cars and onto transit. No, Jenkins writes, this comparison of traffic in spring 2005 and 2008 more likely reflects the recession and the higher gas prices.
Commenters here on the blog and letter writers to Dr. Gridlock have debated this for more than a year. Some thought they detected breaks in the traffic on their routes, but this is tough for even steady, longterm commuters to track. Traffic patterns can vary somewhat from week to week. Drivers who use the same routes often see the patterns differently.
2) The Post also has a map pinpointing the 10 top choke points in the region, according to the Council of Governments, which used an aerial survey. I think travelers will look at the map and pretty much say, Duh, of course. But tell me if you are amazed to see anything left out of the top 10. All major jurisdictions are represented on the list.
I said above that traffic patterns can vary somewhat, but the bottlenecks identified in the study are the stuff of legend.
3) This last one goes to the eternal tension between drivers and transit users: Staff writer Katherine Shaver says Maryland transportation officials plan to build the Purple Line transitway in part with money originally destined for two road projects, one of which would have widened 10 miles of Routes 28 and 198, while the other would have widened about three miles of Route 3. (See her story here.)
Shaver also picked up on the fact that state documents submitted to the Council of Governments describe the Purple Line solely as a light rail line, suggesting that the state has stopped considering a bus rapid transit line, though no formal announcement has been made. (Bus rapid transit is a great concept with many potential applications. Longtime readers know that I've favored the light rail version of the Purple Line, even though it would be more expensive than the bus system.)
May 20, 2009; 2:03 PM ET
Categories: Congestion , Driving , transit
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