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.
Texas Transportation Institute: Urban Mobility Report
Texas Transportation Institute: Performance Measures Summary
Goldwater Institute: Buses, Trains and Automobiles: Finding the Right Transportation Mix for the Phoenix Metro Region