The good news is that traffic congestion in the country’s 100 largest cities dropped 30 percent last year. The bad news is that the drop occurred because of the poor economy, high gas prices, and slow job growth under President Barack Obama.
The 30 percent drop in traffic from 2010 was the largest since the nation went into a recession in December 2007, according to the 2011 U.S. Traffic Scorecard put together by the Kirkland, Wash.-based INRIX company, USA Today
The company collects traffic data from some 4 million vehicles equipped with GPS devices and other sources to put together the rating.
The report found that of the 100 most populous metro areas, 70 saw declines in traffic congestion while just 30 had increases.
“We’re experiencing a stop-and-go economy right now,” Jim Bak, co-author of the report, told USA Today. “The data indicate the country may be experiencing the jobless recovery economists warned of during the recession.”
Bak said the drop in traffic congestion was a result of rising prices at the pump; slow growth in employment and modest increases in highway capacity because of construction projects completed under the federal stimulus program, USA Today reported.
“Cities that consistently had gas prices equal to or lower than the national average, and that experienced modest job growth, were the cities that tended to have increases in congestion,” Bak told the paper.
Atlanta experienced a 1.2 percent employment growth in 2011 and had an average gas price 20 cents less than the national average. The area had the fourth-biggest jump in congestion, Bak noted.
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