We have the “killer app” to slay rush hour traffic congestion

Los Angeles has topped the INRIX Global Congestion Ranking to be named the most gridlocked city in the world. Carried out by INRIX, Inc., experts in transportation analytics and connected car services, the research looked at traffic congestion in 1,064 cities across 38 countries worldwide, making it the largest study ever of its kind.Los Angeles took the number one spot after the results revealed that in 2016 drivers in the city spent 104 hours in congestion during peak time periods, followed by Moscow (91 hours), New York (89 hours), San Francisco (83 hours) and Bogota (80 hours). Sao Paulo came in sixth, followed by London, Atlanta, Paris and Miami. The US was also named the most congested developed country in the world, with the country accounting for 11 of the top 25 cities worldwide with the worst traffic congestion and with drivers on average spending 42 hours a year in traffic during peak times.

Source: Los Angeles named the most gridlocked city in the world

The Industrial Age has shown we can’t build our way out of gridlock due to what transportation planners term induced demand. Self driving cars and “smart city” traffic controls aren’t the answer either. There’s only so much real estate in crowded metro areas. That’s why they are congested and housing there sells at a premium beyond the reach of most.

We already have the “killer app” to address this problem in the increasingly post industrial, information economy: Internet-based telecommunications technology. It eliminates the need for unnecessary peak hour travel to centralized, commute-in offices since it enables the knowledge and information work traditionally done in offices to be accomplished most anywhere. One no longer needs to sit for hours in rush hour traffic to send email to co-workers and clients, write a report or collaborate on a project.

There are also adverse health as well the obvious environmental impacts of so many vehicles idling on clogged freeways. All that sitting and stress contributes to preventable health conditions as it becomes apparent that like adding more freeway lanes to ease traffic congestion, we cannot medically treat or spend our way to health. Office workers need to get off their butts and out of their cars move around and be active. The most accessible setting for most is in their communities, using the freed up time now unnecessarily wasted on commuting.