Stuck in Traffic? How One Association Is Battling Congestion
A new report on American drive time and roadway congestion is providing fodder for the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, which works to promote advancements in transportation infrastructure.
Traffic congestion cost Americans $121 billion in lost time and fuel expense in 2011, according to a new report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI). And researchers say it’s likely to get worse: As the economy rebounds, congestion costs will rise.
This—and the fact that U.S. drivers in the most congested urban areas need to add anywhere from 38 to 95 minutes to a 20-minute trip for an on-time arrival—is an issue the American Road and Transportation Builders Association takes seriously.
“This is the type of information that we would hope our elected officials would see and help them make the case that we need to step up to the plate and do something about the mobility problems that we have,” said Beth McGinn, a spokesperson for ARBTA.
McGinn said the association often works with TTI to promote research and in the past has financially supported similar reports.
ARBTA also sponsors the “Transportation Makes America Work” campaign, an advocacy, research, education, and grassroots lobbying effort, which works for increased federal investment in surface transportation. The campaign helped get $105 billion in federal funding for transportation projects under the transportation reauthorization bill enacted last summer.
But there’s room for improvement, McGinn said. She hopes TTI’s latest report, and research like it, will serve as eye-openers.
“What we’ve had is a lack of leadership at all levels of government on this issue,” she said. “This is the empirical evidence—the irrefutable evidence—that something needs to be done, that we need to do a better job investing in our transportation infrastructure.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by ARBTA President and CEO Pete Ruane.
“While we may have to accept deadlocked politicians, there are ways to get Americans moving again,” Ruane said in a statement addressing the TTI report. “Robust new investments aimed at creating additional highway and public transit capacity and providing more travel options could help accelerate economic recovery and better prepare the nation for the 21st-century mobility challenges that come with it.”