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Thursday, January 20, 2011
Alice Fiman, WSDOT Communications, 360-705-7080
Daniela Bremmer, WSDOT Director of Strategic Assessment, 360-705-7953
OLYMPIA – Seattle’s urban-area drivers spend less time stuck in traffic than drivers in similar-size areas around the country, according to a report today from the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI).
While commuters in urban areas of 3 million or more people spend an average of 50 hours extra each year stuck in rush-hour traffic, Seattle’s 2009 average was 44 hours per year, an improvement from 47 hours in 2007. Chicago and Washington, D.C., tied for the longest at 70 hours in 2009.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) does its own annual congestion report, which provides a more detailed travel-time and traffic-delay analysis, including 52 central Puget Sound and two Spokane commute routes. The congestion report is just one way WSDOT analyzes how its “Moving Washington” approach to strategic investments is reducing congestion and building the economy.
Moving Washington is a three-part strategy of adding highway capacity strategically, operating the system efficiently and managing demand. Using its Moving Washington strategy, WSDOT:
- Targets the worst traffic bottlenecks and chokepoints with projects funded by the 2003 and 2005 transportation-funding packages, adding capacity where it makes the most sense. Washington continues to invest in improvements to I-5, I-405 and SR 520 in the central Puget Sound and US 395 through Spokane, among others around the state.
- Maximizes efficiencies by taking steps to smooth traffic flow, and avoid or reduce situations that constrict road capacity. Technology, such as driver-information signs, enable WSDOT and drivers to react quickly to unforeseen traffic fluctuations. Among the tools employed are metered freeway on-ramps, incident response teams, variable speed-limit systems, variable tolling, integrated traffic signals, and Smarter Highways strategies such as Active Traffic Management, which uses sign bridges to provide real-time traffic information to drivers.
- Manages demand to make the best use of highway capacity by better distributing the demand placed on the most congested bridges and highways. This means offering commuters more choices, such as convenient bus service, incentives to carpool or vanpool, and promoting workplace environments more conducive to telecommuting. WSDOT continues to expand its programs to encourage drivers to use less congested routes and times to travel by displaying real-time traffic information through various means, including the Internet and variable-message signs.
WSDOT keeps people, businesses and the economy moving by operating and improving the state's transportation systems. To learn more about what we're doing, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/news for pictures, videos, news and blogs. Real time traffic information is available at www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic or by dialing 5-1-1.
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