Monday, February 1, 2016 / by Kimo Quance
- Average of 36 hours spent in gridlock every year.
- Direct costs as a consequence of congestion? $13 billion.
- Indirect costs due to the increased cost of doing business? $9 billion
These were some of the results from a 2014 study by traffic analysis firm, Inrix. While we all experience a bit of traffic every single day, seeing its economic cost is simply staggering.
It's not news that roads through urban areas seem perpetually congested, and despite the best efforts of city councils, it only seems to get worse. California alone has six cities in the top 65 most congested U.S cities. In 2013, the average L.A. motorist wasted an average of 64.4 hours, in traffic per vehicle per year!
Congestion is not an American problem; roads from Delhi to Beijing are recording slower speeds, longer queues and increased trip times. The global congestion phenomenom is often blamed on an increase in the number of vehicles on the roads. To counter this, road expansion is the commonly recommended solution. However, this doesn't work in every situation, primarily because the causes of congestion differ in different scenarios. Rather than choosing a solution because it seemed to work in another city, a smarter fix would involve first understanding the cause of traffic congestion in your city.
Congestion could result from natural population increase, reduced road capacity, change in location & timing of traffic signals, reduced speed limits and even road improvement projects.
Congestion in Santee
In Santee, we are all too familiar with traffic congestion; take the State Route 52 (SR-52), a major east-west freeway serving the city of San Diego and East County communities. The congestion levels recorded in the last quarter, show an effect on everything from the reliability of bus and freight trips to causing congestion on surrounding roadways, including the I-805.
To relieve this congestion, the city has rolled out improvements to road infrastructure, such as changing the timing of traffic signals, new placement of stop signs and enforcing new speed limits.
But even these methods don't seem to be working; did you know that speed bumps, used to slow down traffic, are actually less effective than you think? Most drivers actually accelerate to go over speed bumps as that lessens the actual bump.
So much for fighting congestion, right?
How to Combat Traffic Congestion on a Personal Level
With the city's efforts not working as well as planned, it comes down to combating traffic congestion on a personal level. Here are some ways you can help reduce traffic around Santee:
- Exploring alternative routes; take the opportunity to discover more of beautiful Santee.
- Adjusting your routine to avoid high-traffic periods.
- Make travel times more productive by using the drive for activities other than travel, e.g. listening to an audio book.
- Leave the driving to someone else and take advantage of mass transit systems wherever available.
In the end, you should accept that there will be traffic, and focus on not getting frustrated when you hit it. Our recommended tips can help you stay positive while the city rolls out the SR-52 Corridor Study.
It can take a long while before results are generated from the study and new anti-congestion plans drawn up. To avoid congestion and incidents of road rage, lets all do our bit to stay calm and level-headed.
We all benefit in the long run.