We already know Washington, D.C., has the worst gridlock in the world. But now we know it has the worst traffic too. HEYOOOOO
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute has just put out its annual Urban Mobility Report [PDF], and D.C. can proudly proclaim that it remains No. 1, based on data collected in 2011. If you are living and driving in D.C., you can expect to lose 67 hours a year and 32 gallons of gas to traffic gridlock. And you can expect to spend roughly $1,400 a year on the problem.
Interestingly, for the first time in the run of the report, wasted fuel was calculated using data on “the additional carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions due to congestion for each urban area.” Page 36 indicates that while the greater New York/Newark area has D.C. handily beat in the total greenhouse gases produced (due to total number of cars, we presume), Washington beats New York in wastefulness per auto, due to its worse overall snarlage. The report will be useful to anyone interested in how congestion makes our greenhouse gases/global warming problem even worse.
D.C.’s gridlock-gridlock pair brings to my mind the classic, perhaps even cliched Taoist story of the rainmaker. You know the one: Town has no rain. Crops dying. They call in the rainmaker. He sits in a room for three days and the rain comes. When asked how he did it, he says, “Hey, I got myself in order, and then the natural order of things followed, and then it rained. Here’s my invoice.” Maybe if D.C. were to get a Taoist departisanizer or two, in a quiet room, the lanes would desnarl. Or if they put a Taoist untraffic maker in a stranded car, maybe our Congress would fix itself. As the report does not express much optimism for future conditions from the statistical evidence, we can only hope.
Get Grist in your inbox