Traffic congestion costs Californians millions of dollars each year in wasted time and fuel, delivery delays, pollution, and stress. According to a study by the Texas Transportation Institute, which looked at the nation's largest cities, Los Angeles topped the list for annual congestion costs. Based on the value of time delay as perceived by motorists and the cost of fuel wasted in traffic, congestion costs L.A. residents $8.6 billion a year!
California is home to four of the nation's 10-most congested urban areas - Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, and the San Bernardino-Riverside area.
The public, however, has been reticent to leave their private vehicles. As Jeff Jacoby, a columnist with The Boston Globe, wrote in an "Op-Ed" piece in The Sacramento Bee,
"Americans are not being obstinate. It makes sense to prefer private cars to public trains and buses. Cars and highways are available 24 hours a day. They go virtually everywhere....They sharply reduce travel time - nationwide, the average mass transit commute takes 42 minutes, while the average commuter driving to work makes it in only 20 minutes....It isn't a 'love affair' with cars that keeps Americans behind the wheel. It is the freedom, flexibility and efficiency that automobiles provide...."
But with the rising cost of fuel - above $3.00 per gallon in the late summer of 2005 - many people are thinking about their "other" choices. And these options can also save energy. Check out these areas:
- Air Travel
- Buses and Mass Transit
- Car Pool / Ridesharing
- High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes
- Intra-City Rail
- Neighborhood Electric Vehicles