Tuesday, May 10, 2005

A national study says the average commuter in Honolulu spent 20 hours sitting in rush-hour traffic in 2003. Above is an example of the congestion during peak traffic hours, traveling up Alakea Street around 4:15 p.m.

Traffic is worsening
in isles, report finds

The average driver in 2003 spent
two hours more stuck in traffic

The average Honolulu commuter spent 20 hours sitting in rush-hour traffic in 2003, two hours more than in the previous year, according to a national study released yesterday.

"That sounds about right," said Chuck Lindley, whose daily commute from Discovery Bay to Honolulu Airport can take up to one hour each way for the 7-mile drive.

Doreen Kamakea believes she spends more time stuck in rush-hour traffic because her commutes are longer. "For me it's 20-plus."

Kamakea said her job in property management takes her from her home in Waikiki to all parts of Oahu.

The 2005 Urban Mobility Study by Texas A&M University's Texas Transportation Institute uses daily traffic volume per lane of roadway to estimate rush-hour speed.

The 20 hours ties Honolulu with New Haven, Conn., for 50th among the 85 urban areas included in the institute's study. Los Angeles was No. 1 with 93 hours. Travelers in Brownsville, Texas, had the shortest rush-hour traffic delay in the study at four hours per year.

The report said traffic congestion continues to grow in America's urban areas despite slow growth in jobs and travel in 2003. Travel delay increased by 79 million hours from 2002, resulting in an additional 69 million gallons of wasted fuel, the report said. Urban areas are not adding enough traffic capacity, improving operations or managing demand well enough to keep congestion from growing larger, according to the report.

Yesterday's release came on the same day the U.S. Senate resumed debate to spend $284 billion on transportation programs and projects across the country during the next six years.

In Honolulu, City Council members are poised to take their first vote tomorrow on a proposal to raise the state excise tax on Oahu to 4.5 percent from 4 percent to fund the construction of a rail transit system.

State lawmakers approved a measure to grant the counties authority to add the half-percentage-point increase in the recently completed legislative session. The bill is awaiting Gov. Linda Lingle's signature.

Texas Transportation Institute

E-mail to City Desk


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