Why is traffic congestion getting worse? The answer seems obvious, right? Every day there are more cars on our roadways, lining up bumper to bumper and inching their way toward various destinations.
But traffic congestion is often a sign of prosperity. Texas’ strong economy is generating unprecedented population growth — we grow by nearly 1,000 people daily and that means more cars on Texas roadways. According to Texas A&M's Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the number of registered vehicles in Texas has risen 172 percent in the past four decades. In that same period, highway capacity has increased by only 19 percent.
According to the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, “travel delays due to traffic congestion caused drivers nationally to waste more than 3 billion gallons of fuel and kept travelers stuck in their cars for nearly seven billion extra hours” annually. The total annual nationwide price tag: $160 billion, or $960 per commuter; however, in five of Texas’ largest metropolitan areas, drivers are losing about 52 hours and $1,200 annually due to traffic congestion — much higher than the national average. And left unchecked, traffic congestion in Texas is predicted to worsen. According to the Urban Mobility Scorecard, by 2020, with a continued strong economy:
- Average delay per Texas commuter could grow from 52 hours to 58 hours annually.
- Average total annual cost of congestion per Texas commuter could jump from $1200 to $1343.
Top 100 Congested Roads
According to a TTI study, growth-induced traffic gridlock is getting worse every year. The research includes a list of the top 100 congested roads in addition to an examination of nearly 1,800 roads across our state.
Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio are the only metro areas in Texas with populations over 1 million, and represent more than 65 percent of the Texas population. They also are home to 97 of the “Top 100” most congested roadway segments in the state. Each metro area has at least 11 segments on the “Top 100” list, which translates to an average of 52.6 annual hours of delay per commuter.