While they probably could’ve just paid anyone in Austin to tell them this information, a study has officially shown that economic development makes traffic worse. Surprisingly, Austin didn’t make the top 10 list of most congested cities in the US in the study by Inrix, a Washington-based traffic analytics company, especially considering that from 2002 to 2013, Austin’s economy averaged 5.7% annual economic growth, reported the Austin American Statesman. According to The Austin Business Journal, the study revealed that strong gross domestic product growth was the consistent factor among the nation’s most congested cities.
We should probably be happy that Los Angeles takes top honors as most congested city, with Houston the top in Texas at #4. However, the study identified the stretch of I-35 from Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd to Ben White as the worst in our area and #24 on their list of 356 most congested roads. In all, eight traffic corridors in the Austin/Round Rock area made the list, three of which are in the top 100.
The traffic corridor ranking shows that the MLK/Ben White corridor is busiest at 4pm on Friday afternoons, but it seems as though Mayor Steve Adler recently came up with a way to move that corridor much further down the rankings if local businesses are just willing to participate.
Past reports from the National Traffic Scorecard, as reported by KXAN in 2014, showed Austin ranked #4 in the nation. Another report from TomTom, as reported by ABJ, showed Austin had the 13th worst traffic in the U.S. in 2015. Hopefully this trend will continue to progress and see us move further and further from the top of the most congested cities.