Tags: traffic | congestion | INRIX | economy

Increasing Traffic Indicates Economic Recovery

By    |   Tuesday, 12 March 2013 01:51 PM

You might be spending more time waiting in traffic. But don’t feel bad. That’s a good thing.

Traffic congestion points to economic recovery.

The most recent INRIX Gridlock Index shows that drivers in the 100 most populated metro areas spent 6.4 percent more time in traffic for an average trip in January than in January 2012 because of increased congestion. It was the second straight month of gridlock increasing over the previous year, breaking a string of declines that stretched back to 2011.

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“While these increases bode well for our economic outlook, we don’t expect them to bring a smile to the face of the average commuter,” said Bryan Mistele, CEO of INRIX. “Stalled traffic is actually a side effect of a moving economy as people go to work, spend money and businesses respond to demand.”

Although the index shows that the economy appears to be stabilizing, it has not recovered all of the ground lost since 2010.

Fifty-five of America’s 100 largest metropolitan areas measured by the index had more traffic congestion in January.

Ogden, Utah, had the largest traffic increase, up over 200 percent. Salt Lake City produced a 111 percent increase. That’s in line with recent reports of higher-than-expected levels of income, sales and other tax receipts in Utah.

Traffic congestion rose 192 percent in Greensboro, N.C., over 100 percent in Knoxville, Tenn., and 86 percent in Richmond, Va.

Congestion dropped 61 percent in Louisville, Ky., more than any other metro area measured. Traffic also decreased 57 percent in Youngstown, Ohio, 44 percent in Akron, Ohio, and 45 percent in Buffalo, N.Y., illustrating hard times in those manufacturing areas.

To compile its traffic scores, INRIX uses data from hundreds of public and private sources, including a crowd-sourced network of about 100 million vehicles and mobile devices.

“When we first slipped into recession in 2008, we saw traffic congestion drop 30 percent across the country,” Jim Bak, senior marketing manager at INRIX, told CNBC. “Up until then, congestion was getting worse year-over-year.”

Then the recession arrived and “things fell off a cliff,” he told CNBC.

“If people aren’t going to work, or out to dinner and movies, it means businesses aren’t shipping product.”

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You might be spending more time waiting in traffic. But don't feel bad. That's a good thing. .
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 01:51 PM
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