Texas A&M Ranks U.S. Traffic

San Antonio Traffic Report (Atleast it is not LA)

Texas A&M University recently released a study of the traffic trends, mobility measurements, and traffic congestion in major U.S. urban areas, and while some of the usual suspects head the chart, San Antonio remains in the middle of the pack.  Not surprisingly, in almost every category, two California cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco were atop the list.  Likewise, Texas two largest cities, Dallas and Houston suffer from high levels of congestion, delays, and wasted fuel.

The study ranks cities according to size, with those containing over 3 million people falling in the group called Very Large Urban Areas.  Between 1 and 3 million, are called Large Urban Areas, and the rest are referred to as Remaining Areas.


Los Angeles is head and shoulders above the rest in the category of Annual Hours of delay per traveler, with each Angeleno wasting 72 hours of his life in traffic each year, as well as wasting 57 gallons of fuel.  They are head and shoulders above the others because in second place is San Franciscans, who ‘only’ waste 60 hours per year, and 47 gallons of fuel.  San Antonio is 29th on the list—about midway through the Large Urban group—with its citizens sitting in traffic 39 hours per year, and idling away 27 gallons of gas.  According to the report, San Antonio ranks about the same as Las Vegas and Portland, OR.  In comparison with the other cities in Texas, people who live in Dallas and Houston waste about 58 hours and 40 gallons per person.

The study also ranks the growth of congestion in each city, and in this category, San Antonio fares quite well.  Out of 25 cities in the Large Urban Area group, San Antonio ranks 19th, which means that it ranks towards the low end of the average when it comes to how fast the congestion is growing.  Basically, this means that San Antonio is experiencing normal to low rates of congestion growth.  The leaders in this category are San Diego, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Baltimore, and Tampa.  San Antonio is just behind Orlando, and just ahead of Providence, R.I.

Some other high points that the study revealed:

· 2/3 of all cars experience delays on the daily commutes.
· The hours of congestion on the roads are increasing by about an hour every 10 years.  For example, in 1995, a city the size of San Antonio would expect 3 hours of congestion in the morning, and three in the afternoon.  A decade later, it’s almost 3.5.  In Very Large cities, such as Los Angeles or Atlanta, it’s almost 8 hours per day.

Finally, the study ranked the infrastructure improvements that each city has undertaken and how much they cost.  San Antonio has invested in freeway incident management, street signal coordination, and street access management.  The city has spent 21.9 million on this for a total savings of 1.2 million hours, and 32.2 million on public transportation for a savings of 1.7 million hours.  San Antonio ranks above New Orleans, St. Louis, Memphis, and Milwaukee in this category.

Studies like this rarely make anyone feel better.  Sitting in traffic is aggravating, wasteful, and adds stress to all our lives.  Telling ourselves that, “At least I don’t live in Los Angeles,” sounds good, but still doesn’t change the fact that all cities have the same problem.  The best news that citizens of San Antonio can take to heart, is that the congestion in the city’s roads is not growing.  That 20 minute commute should stay a 20 minute commute for the next few years.  In Los Angeles, today’s 20 minute commute could be tomorrow’s hour long nightmare.