Here's something that ranks in the "so what's new" category of
news reporting. Traffic is increasing on metropolitan Oklahoma City
freeways and, as a result, so is congestion.
congestion here is nothing like it is in some major cities,
according to the Urban Mobility Report 2002 from the Texas
Of the 100 most-congested cities,
Oklahoma City comes in at No. 64, while Tulsa is ranked 57, meaning
that there is more congestion in Tulsa than in Oklahoma
That's because Oklahoma City has better arterial streets
and traffic flow, says Linda Koenig, director of the transportation
planning division of the Association of Central Oklahoma
"Our arterial system means that the city is able to
handle the incidents on the freeway," she said. "We've got a good
potential of getting on and off the freeways."
Oklahoma City motorist spent an average of one hour per month in
congestion in 2000, the latest year for which figures are available,
according to the report.
This is up from three hours per year in
While the congested hours jumped by 300 percent in 18
years, the amount of vehicle miles traveled also is up
Traffic during rush time, though, is 8,930 vehicle
miles traveled, up only 83 percent from 4,885 in 1982.
congestion is nothing compared to that experienced in Los Angeles,
the most-congested city in the United States. There, motorists spend
136 hours per year locked in traffic.
Traffic in San Francisco
and Washington, D.C., is only slightly better than that in Los
Angeles, according to the report.
The average American motorist
spent a total of 62 hours, nearly 2.5 days annually in traffic, up
from 16 hours in 1982. The national cost for this congestion was a
whopping $68 billion in wasted gasoline and time.
lock up during peak travel times, groups across the nation are
calling for other measures to relieve some of the burden on
Cities and states should invest more in public transit
systems, says the American Public Transportation
Several Oklahoma groups also have called for more
investment in public transit systems as well as more money for rail
passenger service in general.
Improving city bus service,
building a rail-based commuter line and improving rail service
around the metropolitan area would ease traffic on the freeways, the
The Texas A&M University study does not consider
such factors as ridership on public transit systems or efforts by
cities to lessen congestion.
That's because there is no empirical
data available on such efforts, said David Schronk, traffic
researcher and co-author of the report.
"We have data on freeways
and interstate highways from the Federal Highway Administration that
we have used for years," Schronk said. "But, each city has different
types of data for public transit systems as well as for intelligent
"We've begun compiling some of this and soon we
expect to have it where we can measure that."
Since the study
does not deal with city and state efforts to mitigate congestion,
the state of Washington has pulled out of the study, according to a
report from The Associated Press.
Still, those efforts do pay
off, Schronk said.
While congestion is not a big factor in
Oklahoma City and Tulsa, the state is considering several
alternatives, according to David Streb, chief of the Planing
Division of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. …