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Houston's Escalating Traffic Woes: Study Says Commute is Third Worst in America

Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 07:35 PM

(Houston, TX -- Wendy Siegle, KUHF) Earlier this year we learned that Houston has five of the top ten most congested roads in Texas.  Now, Houston’s been given the title of third worst place to commute in America. 

Bundle.com and reporters at TheStreet.com compared data to come up with the rankings. The study factored in travel time, hours wasted in traffic, and car expenses like gas and vehicle maintenance. Alan Clark is the manager of Transportation Planning at the Houston-Galveston Area Council. He says more and more people are transplanting themselves in Houston every day, making it nearly impossible for the infrastructure to catch up. Clark points out that growth in job activity, in population, and in travel, "far outstrips the increases in new roads and expansion of existing roads to carry that traffic.”

Hear the story over at KUHF News.

Clark offers a pretty bleak outlook for Houston commuters . With funding options limited, he says there’s not a lot of cash for transportation projects. “The resources for improving our road system continue to decline, and are expected to decline further in the next ten years, says Clark. "We’ve really been spending a lot of time prioritizing the dollars that are available,” he says.

Clark says some of the money is going into transit alternatives, like vanpools, carpools, and public transportation. H-GAC is also working with employers who can provide compressed work weeks or tele-working from home. Clark hopes all of these things will reduce the number of cars on the roads.

Still, if current projections hold true, you may have to leave earlier to get to work on time. Clark puts the problem in perspective this way: "Today, let’s say that you’re able to get to work in about 40 minutes; in the future that travel to work might take more than an hour.

Of the 90 American cities studied, Houston came in at 88. We’re better off than our northern neighbor though–Dallas came in dead last.

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