yes, traffic in LA really is that bad

the latest report from california's legislative affairs office on financing transportation provides some interesting reading. the increase in traffic congestion in LA isn't just the result of nostalgic thinking; it has gotten markedly worse. some interesting facts from the report:

  • Demand for Highway Travel Outpaced Population Growth. From 1990 to 2003, California’s population increased by almost 21 percent. Meanwhile, travel on the state highway system as measured by vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) increased by 26 percent.
  • Highway Lane-Miles Increased Minimally. Between 1990 and 2003, highway lane-miles only increased by about 3 percent. Today, California has about 50,500 lane-miles of highways, maintained and operated by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). An additional 327,000 miles of local roads are maintained and operated by local cities and counties.
  • Hours of Delay Have Risen. Because of the imbalance between road supply and travel demand, delay on urban freeways has nearly doubled from about 262,000 vehicle-hours per day in 1992 to 512,000 vehicle-hours per day in 2002.
  • Increased Congestion. In 2002, 43 percent of the state’s urban freeways were congested. Congestion is defined as occurring when vehicles are traveling at 35 miles per hour or less during peak commute periods on a typical work day. This is up from 32 percent in 1992.
  • Costs of Congestion. Congestion on urban freeways costs Californians at least $16 million per day (or $5.9 billion per year) in wasted time and excess fuel.
  • Environmental Impacts. This delay also has negative environmental consequences, resulting in an estimated 512 additional tons of emissions per day.

    so no, it's not just complaining. it has gotten markedly worse. a 26% increase in vehicle-miles traveled, vs. a 3% increase in lane-miles increased? explains a lot.

  • read the full report.