The soviets had a successful policy for minimizing traffic congestion: keep people too poor to drive. Environmentalists today want to use the same policy: tax the heck out of gasoline; prevent the development of Alberta tar sands (“keep the tar sands oil in the soil” says one group); stop the development of natural gas.
The policy seems to be working. Thanks to the recession, Inrix says traffic congestion has declined in most U.S. urban areas. The worst congestion now is in Honolulu, followed closely by Los Angeles.
Inrix scores are based on actual measurements of traffic. A score of 10 means it takes an average of 10 percent more time to get anywhere in an urban area than it would take without congestion. Since that’s a 24-hour average, a score of 10 probably equals a score of 30 or 40 during rush hour–that is, rush-hour travel takes 30 or 40 percent more time than if there were no congestion. Honolulu’s 2011 score of 24 must represent a score of 50 or more during rush hour.