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Yippee! Fewer Jobs Means Less Traffic

From the silver lining finders at the Kansas City Star:

As jobs vanish, so do area traffic woes

Wed, Jan. 19, 2011   

A couple of years ago we didn’t drive because gas cost too much. Now, we’re not driving because we’re out of work.

As it turns out, one of America’s darkest economic periods has led to more free-flowing highways, something that will probably be fleeting as the country’s economic engine regains steam.

A new study out today from the Texas Transportation Institute shows that the country saw a historic dip in traffic jams in 2008 and 2009.

And though Wednesday night’s snowy commute might suggest otherwise, Kansas City enjoyed some of the biggest improvements.

During 2009, Kansas City drivers spent an average of 21 hours stuck in rush-hour traffic, the lowest since 1992. It was the third consecutive year that congestion declined in Kansas City.

“The obvious answer is the economy,” said Mell Henderson, director of transportation for the Mid-America Regional Council, which coordinates area transportation planning.

Kansas City lost 62,000 jobs between 2007 and 2009. The unemployment rate in late 2009 was running about 8 percent. In just one year — from November 2009 to November 2010 — the metro area lost nearly 20,000 jobs.

All of this means less traffic and less congestion, researchers said.

Nationally, the average driver was tied up 34 hours a year in rush-hour traffic. You’d have to go back to 1996 to find a time when commuters spent less time stuck at rush hour.

Since the data were first assembled in 1982, congestion nationwide had increased steadily or stayed flat from year to year. It dropped for the first time in 2007 and declined again in 2008.

Overall, the amount of time lost in rush-hour traffic is down 13 percent nationally from 2006. The decline began when we were driving less while gas soared to $4 a gallon.

David Schrank, co-author of the report, said researchers have seen congestion diminish where big economic hardships have occurred, such as the burst of the dot-com bubble. But this decline is very different.

“Nationally, this is a historic situation,” Schrank said.

“We haven’t seen a drop like this nationally in the 27 years of data we have.”

Schrank pinned the reason on the tepid economy, saying cities with industrial or manufacturing bases saw bigger congestion declines.

“The economy is so tied to transportation. When jobs go away, a lot of times bottlenecks on the road disappear and things ease up.” …

Of course $3.50 a gallon gas might have something to do with this as well.

But thanks to Mr. Obama your commute to your job is much shorter. And even shorter still, if you no longer have a job.

(Thanks to GetBackJack for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, January 20th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Yippee! Fewer Jobs Means Less Traffic”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    Pitiful !!!!!
    Finding a match in a dark tunnel means the same thing.
    Especially when the match is wet and useless.

    Thanks for pointing out the obvious, A holes!

  2. P. Aaron says:

    Looks like Obama’s administration has adopted North Korea’s automotive strategy.

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