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The Collective
Thursday, June 28, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Today’s shocking headline from Reuters: California has worst U.S. traffic: study.

Granted, I haven’t actually lived in California in 17 years and 10 days (and there’s a reason I know that with such precision), but the traffic sucked then and the growth in roads certainly haven’t matched the population growth. Further, my sister still lives there and I get frequent reports of her drive from Mission Viejo to Costa Mesa.

And I found this “finding” to be rather amusing:

Drivers in four lucky states enjoyed zero congestion: Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

I am not an expert in this area, but I am guessing that the general lack of people in those states might have something to do with the lack of traffic…

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4 Comments

  1. Traffic may be considered bad in California but they move a lot of cars and trucks. I know trucks since that’s my business. The I-5 corridor up and down the west coast is the artery of commerce.

    The funny thing about congestion whether it’s in Los Angeles or my town, Medford, is that’s it’s all about timing. Peak hour traffic is what causes back ups and it’s also what engineers use to determine what roads are failing.

    My trucks enter Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle during non-peak times and rarely have traffic problems. Most carriers try to operate in a similar manner. Most local employers fail to take steps that would help alleviate congestion. Again, that’s true in LA and in Medford.

    Comment by Steve Plunk — Thursday, June 28, 2007 @ 3:48 pm

  2. It is a bit surprising, however, which state was identified as having the second worst. Apparently, there is a lot of congestion around Lake Woebegon these days.

    And, bad as California may be overall on this dimension, other surveys that I have seen show several non-California metro areas as being worse than any in this state. I recall DC, Atlanta, and Houston being among the worst, with LA surprisingly far down the list.

    What I am getting at here is that using the state as the unit of analysis makes a lot less sense than using metro areas. After all, Casper might have some heavy traffic (for all I know), but as PoliBlogger alludes to, it would be pretty hard for Wyoming’s great empty to have a lot of congestion.

    Comment by MSS — Thursday, June 28, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

  3. Well, I plan to drive through 3 of the lucky congestion-free states in the next few weeks, so I hope they are right in their assessment of the traffic flow.

    Comment by Jan — Thursday, June 28, 2007 @ 8:02 pm

  4. There’s no doubt that driving in any metropolitan area stink.

    DC is simply confusing (and near impossible to execute a quick turn-around in). I will agree that Atlanta and Houston bite as well. I have had limited experience driving in Houston but have been in Atlanta numerous times since moving to Alabama and it really can be a nightmare. Atlanta is very much a case of where a large percentage of persons who work in Atlanta don’t live in Atlanta. Of course, the actually footprint of Atlanta proper is smaller than one might expect.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Thursday, June 28, 2007 @ 8:05 pm

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