Wednesday, November 17, 1999

Tristate driving slower




BY TANYA ALBERT
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Greater Cincinnati's population has grown by 140,000 people since 1982, but it feels as if there are another 754,807 drivers on the road, say two national studies released Tuesday.

        The reason: Cincinnati drivers are taking longer trips and they're taking more of them, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP).

        The result, as most drivers here can attest, has been slower traffic and more delays in rush-hour traffic.

        “The population has only grown 12 percent, but the amount of driving has increased by about 67 percent,” said Barbara McCann, with STPP. “That change in driving is just huge.”

        STPP's numbers were based on the 1999 Annual Mobility Report that the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) released Tuesday.

        That study, looking at factors in 1997 statistics, rank ed Greater Cincinnati 28th for traffic congestion out of 68 metropolitan areas.

        According to the TTI report, Greater Cincinnati drivers:

        • Sit in 31 hours of traffic delays each year.

        • Need 22 percent more time to make a trip during rush hour compared with the time it takes in non-peak traffic. That number has been getting progressively worse since 1982, when it took only 5 percent longer in rush hour traffic.

        • Watched the average speed during rush hour drop by 8 mph for the region since 1982. Drivers averaged 57 mph then. In 1997, it was 49 mph.

        The reports show that Greater Cincinnati can't just build roads to solve congestion problems, said Glen Brand, director of the Sierra Club's Cincinnati office. The STPP report found that while the region's population increased by 12 percent, there's been a 24 percent increase in new roads.

       



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