It may be an accident, a lane closed, construction or a rush of people trying to come home but there are many reasons why traffic jams occur.
The top-ranked chokepoint in the nation is in Chicago, a stretch of highway that extends 12 miles, costs motorists 16.9 million hours’ worth of time and wastes more than 6.3 million gallons of fuel while cars idle or crawl in traffic. The Los Angeles region has far more gridlocked areas than any other metropolitan area, claiming the next six of the ten worst spots.
Those are among the findings of a new study that identifies and ranks the country’s 50 worst traffic bottlenecks.
In addition to 3 in Chicago and a total of 12 in Los Angeles, the list includes trouble spots in these other metropolitan regions: 9 in and around New York City, 3 near Washington, 3 in Houston, 3 in Boston, 3 in Dallas, 3 in Miami, 2 in Atlanta, 2 in Philadelphia, and 2 in San Francisco/Oakland. Austin ranked number 10 on the list.
The report, “Unclogging America’s Arteries 2015; Prescriptions for Healthier Highways,” released on Monday by the American Highway Users Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy group, also provided a detailed analysis on the top 30 bottlenecks, including the size and costs of the delays, and environmental and safety impacts.
Bottlenecks were ranked based on backups in both directions over the entire day, not just during rush hours, the group said.
“The good news is that this problem is solvable, and Congress can be part of the solution, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement following his address at a press conference at The National Press Club in Washington to announce the release of the report. “As a long-term surface transportation bill moves through conference, I urge our elected leaders to provide the funding growth and policies that are necessary to improve commutes, to raise the bar for safety, and to keep the country moving in the 21st century.”
Driving to and from work everyday, you usually see at least one car accident if not more. With all the new safety features, why is this not decreasing the amount of accidents in the United States?
Today’s cars are safer than they’ve ever been, with increasing numbers of models delivering top scores in what have become stricter crash tests, and offering an array of the latest safety features. We now have airbags in the front, rear and sides of a vehicle, with some even at knee height, mounted between the front seats and incorporated into the rear shoulder belts. There’s backup cameras, lane departure and blind spot warning systems and forward auto-braking systems now being offered on all but the smallest and cheapest models.
And yet, nearly 19,000 lives were lost in traffic accidents over the first six months of 2015, according to preliminary statistics just released by the National Safety Council (NSC). That’s a sizeable 14% increase in fatalities over the same period in 2014.
What’s more, over 2.2 million people were seriously injured, which represents a staggering 30% increase. The NSC warns that this year could wind up as the deadliest for motorists and passengers since 2007.
Previously, vehicle-related fatalities had dropped from a peak of 43,510 in 2005 to 32,719 in 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which was largely attributed to improved vehicle engineering in accordance with stricter state DUI, seatbelt use and teen-driving laws.