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Study: Traffic congestion goes back up as economy recovers

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There's really no good news about a recession, but if you really hate your commute (and you're not one of the millions of Americans out of work) at least traffic congestion subsides a bit. We don't know about you, but we'd rather see a strong economy even if it means a bit more cars on the road, and a new study by traffic and navigation services INRIX shows that may be what's happening.

The INRIX study shows modest improvements in traffic congestion as the country pulls out of its economic downturn. In 2008, traffic dropped off quite a bit from the all-time highs of 2007 due mostly to the recession coupled with $4 per gallon gasoline. The latest data for 2009 shows that four of the 10 most congested cites in the U.S. showed increased traffic in 2009, as drivers in New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia all felt a bit more pain. Houston traffic actually decreased in 2009, as the Texas city dropped from fourth to sixth on the list of most congested cities. The areas with an at least a 10 percent increase in traffic congestion are Las Vegas, Baltimore and D.C. So in other words, gambling and lobbying likely increased in 2009.

The federal government's stimulus projects are also affecting traffic congestion. The INRIX study shows that construction projects have led to 25 percent higher traffic congestion during off-peak hours, and the majority of projects are courtesy of stimulus funds.

Hit the jump to read over the INRIX press release, which includes the top 10 most congested cities and the 10 biggest highway bottlenecks in the country. If you live in New York, you probably already know that five of the top 10 bottlenecks are in your neck of the woods, and if you typically travel on the Cross Bronx Expressway/I-95 Southbound at the Bronx River Parkway you don't even want to look.

[source: INRIX | Image: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]

Continue reading Study: Traffic congestion goes back up as economy recovers

Study: Traffic congestion goes back up as economy recovers originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 26 Feb 2010 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Yeah, so that picture is Sunset Bl., where La Cienega terminates at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains. See the road construction? This is occurring now, and is the first time Sunset Bl. has been under construction (repaved) since it was first converted from a dirt road in the 1930s.

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Yeah, so that picture is Sunset Bl., where La Cienega terminates at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains. See the road construction? This is occurring now, and is the first time Sunset Bl. has been under construction (repaved) since it was first converted from a dirt road in the 1930s.

And it looks like a typical construction zone. Lots of orange cones and signs... a truck parked and a flashing arrow or two. An no construction workers to be found.

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And it looks like a typical construction zone. Lots of orange cones and signs... a truck parked and a flashing arrow or two. An no construction workers to be found.

Oh, there's plenty of work being done. Plus it looks like the photo was taken just after some rain.

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