% of drive time in bumper to bumper ? Never heard of that as the measure for "worst traffic" --it is potentially a good measure, but so are other things.We did it—according to the boston herald
I don't know much about MD state politics, but in MA the identity or party of the governor matters much less than what Bob DeLeo wants, and being a transportation visionary is not a mantle he's seeking to claim.A system of HOT (High Occupancy Toll) lanes is the agreed "purple" solution in Virginia (between the state-level Rs and the suburban Ds), and it would seem like a better solution than "do nothing" which has been the response in Maryland and Massachusetts, whose solid-D legislatures seem strangely unable to act regardless of whether they have a D governor (Patrick or O'Malley) or a pragmatic R (Baker or Hogan)
Mass -- ExactlyThe issue is that our highways are not wide enough to have express lanes that are tolled. You'd have to take away existing lanes and that's not going to be a popular idea. Large stretches of 128 are a tangled mess with awful interchanges (93/95 in Canton, 95/90 in Weston are prime examples) and not enough acceleration and deceleration lanes around exits cause some issues. I am not suggesting we need to be Houston or Los Angeles and have 14 and 16 lane highways. But making some modest lane additions and rebuilding and re-configuring some key interchanges could help things out. People who live in Franklin, or Walpole, or Mansfield and work in Lexington/Burlington/Waltham can't take mass transit and will always need to drive.
Unlike 93 into the city in both directions (which can be alleviated with faster and far more reliable mass transit), 128 doesn't have that benefit of sorts.
The problem with declarations like "we're at 95%" is that you assume that modal mix and vehicle capacity are fixed which they are not.When you have reached 95% (or more) capacity of existing infrastructure, then don't build new housing or commercial space without first building new capacity.
Arlington -- Transportation over fixed routes is more complicated because its more constrained than a lot of the other examples which you mention. Cost is obviously a factor -- but the choices commuters make on how they get to work are not strongly influenced by cost -- convenience and level of irritation / frustration are part of the trade-offs.The problem with declarations like "we're at 95%" is that you assume that modal mix and vehicle capacity are fixed which they are not.
Raising prices is a way to signal the shortage to users and to enlist help in creating alternatives. New building can still be mixed use in the core or apartment towers with no parking rights if you are worried about road use. Higher road prices would invite/incentivize more efficient use of each lane-mile (HOV/Bus/Bike/Walk; elimination of street parking and raising prices on any that remains)
In the rest of the economy, we've never run out of any industrial input (and rarely gotten to a "95% used"status) for any other critical economic input because/when/if we allowed prices to rise and created an incentive for alternatives or conservation*
Rising prices of timber caused the innovation of coal mining (and steam engines to pump water out of them
Rising prices of whale oil and beeswax signaled the need for coal gas and kerosene for lighting.
Emergence of electricity caused the gas companies to invent the mineralized mantle (tripled light output)
More cost-efficient new thing ultimately drives the piggish old thing to novelty niche status
Horsepower got expensive when 25% of ag output was going to hay...and then internal combustion and electric motors drove horse carriages to novelty status.
Crowded free roads for commuting to work is a pricing problem, not a capacity problem.
*In contrast, we have plenty of "ran out of free stuff" examples like the Currituck Duck, American Bison, the Passenger Pigeon, where things did get used up because they seemed to be "free for the taking" As long as roads are free they'll always operate at 95% capacity and being at 95% capacity only tells you they're underpriced, not that they can't move more people.
Stellar -- there is something wrong with the statistics which you quotedThis is a link to the annual study of traffic congestion prepared by Texas A&M University, in conjunction with INRIX, titled the Urban Mobility Report. This is the most recent issuance of the report, dated August 2019; data are for CY 2017.
To summarize the report with respect to Boston:
Out of 47 metro areas, Boston is ranked #6 in Yearly Delay (hours) per auto commuter; Travel Time Index Boston is ranked #19; Excess fuel per auto commuter (gallons) ranked #7; Congestion Cost per auto commuter, ranked #8.
pdf p. 28
Out of 15 large metro areas, Travel delay (in hours) ranked #11; Excess fuel consumed ranked #11; Truck congestion cost #11; Total congestion cost #11.
pdf p. 32
Freeway travel time index, Boston is ranked #24 of 101 areas.
pdf p. 36
||Combined statistical area
|1||New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA||23,076,664||23,522,861||1.9|
|2||Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA||17,877,006||18,764,814||5|
|5||San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA||8,153,696||8,841,475||8.4|