The Cost of Congestion: How Traffic Jams Waste More Than Just Your Time
City Club Friday Forum – March 31, 2006
- Jay T. Waldron, President of Port of Portland Commission and Co-Chair of Metro’s Transportation Investment Task Force
- Ann Gardner, Government Relations Manager, Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.
- Michael Powell, Powell’s City of Books
According to the 2005 Urban Mobility Report, Portland ranks as the 20th most congested city in the country, and by 2025, the population in the metropolitan area is projected to increase by an additional one million people. But this is going to mean a lot more than just a longer commute to work. To pin down the real impact of congestion, the Portland Business Alliance, Port of Portland and Metro recently collaborated on a study that has quantified just how this byproduct of urban growth affects our economy and our quality of life — from its effect on jobs and worker productivity to transportation costs and business opportunities. Join us to get a better feeling for our region’s growing pains.
This week’s Friday Forum, which is open to the public, will be held at the Governor Hotel (614 S.W. 11th Ave.). Doors will open at 11:30 a.m.; the program begins at 12:15 p.m. and concludes at 1:15 p.m. Luncheon tickets are $16 for City Club members and up to two guests, $20 for nonmembers. Lunch reservations can be made online or by calling 503-228-7231, ext. 103, by 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, 2006 (members only may call the members’ reservation message line at 503-241-9242). A limited number of coffee/tea tickets are $5 at the door. General seating, also available at the door, is free for members, $5 for nonmembers.
12 responses to “Cost of Congestion at City Club”
Looks like the usual suspects, except for Michael.
Two points of interest…see page 32…trucks currently represent 1.5% of all vehicles or less than 5% of vehicle miles of travel; the steep growth of truck traffic shown on page 34 is from a
rather small base.
Also, note that in Figure 4-1 Areas of Traffic Congestion, neither primary freight arterial is noted. Both Columbia Blvd and Going Street have no congestion now, nor are expected to have based on models in 2025.
I think the so-called freight congestion problem is just a stalking horse for more roadway capacity for commuters.
I know enough to get myself in trouble regarding the *benefits* of congestion in terms of increased modal share for transit/walking/biking, denser development, etc. The question of whether you can build yourself out of congestion seems a legitimate one and whether the money spent on making nominal congestion improvements wouldn’t be better spent on infrastructure and modes that aren’t predicated on the need for open highways. And of course there’s the study of induced travel demand which suggests that building more lanes/freeways creates the very congestion it supposedly alleviates.
Does anyone know if Metro is considered these issues as part of its study? With a progressive agency like Metro, it would be pretty depressing if the answer was decided before the study began.
Steve, the study takes pains to say that it’s not about a particular list of projects, which would need to be carefully developed.
But having said that, to analyze the benefits of increased investment, it uses the two lists of projects from the Regional Transportation Plan: the ‘constrained’ list (those we think we can afford to build) and the ‘illustrative’ list, those we think would be good to build.
Having spent three years on TPAC at Metro, I can tell you that a lot more care goes into developing the first list, but the 2nd list is not completely unreasonable (but probably more car-friendly). But Metro planners would have a good idea about the impacts of each.
Having said all that, I’ve read the report twice, and I don’t think “induced demand” is mentioned anywhere.
The real problem is when you use “freight” as the justification for adding capacity, but then just leave it open to everyone, it is overwhelmed by commuters.
Even a project such as the Delta/Lombard widening on I-5 southbound, which every one favors but me,
will do harm to freight movement off Columbia Blvd, and may cause freeway access at Going Street and Greeley to be compromised as congestion moves south into N. Portland.
You are not the only one that does not favor the Delta/Lombard I-5 widening project.
RE: And of course there’s the study of induced travel demand which suggests that building more lanes/freeways creates the very congestion it supposedly alleviates.
JK: That was pretty thoroghly debunked by more careful recent studies but some extremeist groups are still ignoring reality on their web sites and handouts.
Do they really expect us to believe that if we add capacity, people will suddenly start commuting to work TWICE each day?
It doesn’t pass the smell test. Never did.
I met a court reporter who moved here from the Bay Area who works downtown and lives in Lake Oswego. She told me she drives home for lunch since its so quick and easy! Portland is so Undense and Uncongested; I have to laugh at the hand wringing that goes on.
Lenny Anderson She told me she drives home for lunch since its so quick and easy!
JK: Lunch is not rush hour.
Are you implying that it is undesirable for people to travel as they wish?
“Are you implying that it is undesirable for people to travel as they wish?”
Of course he is. That’s the agenda here.
Alice, I think the agenda is all about people being able to travel as they wish.
We’d like to support people who want to travel by transit, by bicycle, or by foot. Today the transit, cycling and sidewalk networks are incomplete, while the auto network is completely built out. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for us to ask to prioritize investment for the incomplete networks.
Of course, I understand that parts of the auto network are congested, but let’s put that into perspective with the incomplete state of the other networks.
“”””but let’s put that into perspective with the incomplete state of the other networks”””””
So you think we have congestion because the other networks are incomplete? Or lacking capacity?
I think if you make only one modal system complete, you shouldn’t be surprised when that mode becomes congested.