Monday, March 03, 2008

Transit Stats and Some Facts About the Cost of Gridlock

In preparation for some upcoming Idaho legislation to enable more options for transit funding, there have been a number of interesting data points shared among the transit community.

The most interesting statistic that I have found so far is the following:

  • If 1 in 10 Americans regularly used public transportation, U.S. reliance on foreign oil could decline by more than 40% or nearly the amount of oil imported from Saudi Arabia each year.

Wow.  This decrease would allow the US to exceed the Kyoto guidelines. This would be very beneficial to our national security, our economy (except the oil companies), decrease our trade deficit, improve air quality. etc.  Another way to accomplish this would be for everyone to use alternative transportation at least 1 incremental day every two weeks. This is not a huge impact on personal convenience.

Other statistics:

  • A rush-hour driver wastes an average of 99 gallons of gasoline a year due to traffic congestion. Ninety-nine gallons @ $3.20/gallon = $316
  • The average cost of lost productivity time in rush hour traffic is $1,160 per person per year.
  • More than 120,000 Treasure Valley (Southwest Idaho) drivers who commute back and forth to work on I-84 can spend from 1-2 hours in gridlock every day (round-trip); commuting time gets worse during bad weather and fatal accidents.
  • The annual cost of driving a single-occupancy vehicle ranges between $4,826 for a small car and $9,685 for a large car, depending on fuel efficiency.
  • An annual bus pass for Boise-area ValleyRide services costs $266. An annual bus pass for ValleyRide’s Intercounty services costs $50/month or $600/year.

To prove that we are heading in the right direction: ValleyRide saw bus ridership on the intercounty service (between Nampa/Caldwell and Boise) soar by 3,000 people (boardings) or 60 percent between July and October in 2007. Proof the gas prices are impacting ridership in the longer length commuter routes.

Sources: Center for Transportation Excellence; Idaho Transportation Department; Valley Regional Transit, Idaho Smart Growth

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