Monday, April 4, 2011

News Flash: High-Speed Rail Produces Highway Traffic Congestion

Well, as we read this article by Wendell Cox, we discover that. . . . 

A. Europe's countries, like Germany, Belgium, France, the UK, etc. have much higher traffic congestion on their roads and highways as compared to the US.  

B. These countries have had high-speed rail for some time, and the US doesn't.

C. That can mean only one thing.  High-Speed Rail = traffic congestion. 

C-1. Additional evidence comes from China, which has the greatest traffic congestion in its major eastern cities, as well as the greatest length of high-speed rail tracks in the world.  

"Quod erat demonstrandum, or Q.E.D." as we used to say in Geometry classes. 

Just kidding.  

We all know that correlation doesn't prove causality.  But it does prove that high density populations need greater traffic relief where that density actually exists; that is, within those population-intensive centers. That means, among other things, highly effective urban public mass transit systems.

As it happens, although there is greater traffic density in our two major population centers in California, they absolutely do not warrant an inter-city high-speed train between them.  That should be clear by now. 

Therefore, we need to put to rest the gross misconception that high-speed rail is a cure for traffic congestion.  That is the hokum that the CHSRA and all the other HSR promoters want us to believe.  

Most cities that have "beltways," Washington D.C. comes to mind, have the greatest traffic congestion primarily on those beltways that circle the population centers.  

Here in the Bay Area, the heaviest traffic congestion is within the Bay Area on the major arteries.  This is similarly true in the greater LA Basin.  High-speed rail between these population centers will do nothing to mitigate that traffic congestion.  


by Wendell Cox 04/04/2011

A new international report indicates that traffic congestion in the United States is far better [less severe] than in Europe. The report was released by INRIX, an international provider of traffic information in 208 metropolitan areas in the United States and six European nations.

The report shows that the added annual peak hour congestion delay in the United States is roughly one-third that of Europe. The rate of France was somewhat less than twice the rate of the US and rates in Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands were three times as high.

In the United States, peak period traffic congestion adds 14.4 hours annually per driver. This compares to an average delay per year of 39.5 hours for the European nations. Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany had the greatest lost time, at from 42 to 47 hours. 

Again, France scored the best [least severe] in Europe, at 24.1 hours of lost time in traffic per year (Figure).

Among individual metropolitan areas. Los Angeles had the greatest peak hour delay, at 74.9 hours annually. Utrecht (Netherlands), Manchester (United Kingdom), Paris, Arhem (Netherlands) and Trier (Germany) second through sixth in the intensity of traffic congestion, all with 65 or more hours of delay per driver per year.

These findings are consistent with international data indicating that traffic congestion tends to be more intense where there are higher urban population densities. [Duh!]