Congestion pricing moment follows decades of unsuccessful efforts to alleviate roads around the country. Historically, cities responded to congestion by building more roads or expanding existing ones – only to find out they were also combed, says Matthew Turner, an economics professor at Brown University.
As a result, America's roads carry more traffic than ever. The number of people driving to work rose to about 130 million in 2017, up from 121 million in 2012, according to a Social Explorer census data, a research firm. Of them, more than 116 million drove alone and only 14 million car pools. Only 8 million workers took public transport.
Trafficlessness has emerged as the underside of successful cities: The boom leads to an influx of new residents, businesses and buildings. More than two dozen major US cities, including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, are more crowded than a decade ago, according to an annual global traffic scorecard by INRIX.
latest scorecard found that overload left US drivers sitting in traffic on average 97 hours last year, up from 82 hours in 2015. It again cost the economy about $ 87 billion in lost productivity last year, up from $ 74 billion in 2015 , according to INRIX.
"It only takes a car that doesn't come through an intersection to block two lanes of traffic," said Trevor Reed, an INRIX transport analyst.
In Seattle, Amazon's relentless increase has helped make the city a big tech hub. Now larger infrastructure and development projects are expected to lead to even more gridlock.