How bad our traffic was on Friday, February 17, 2012? According to TomTom, it was worst day last year in the Tampa Bay metropolitan area.
How do they know? TomTom is a major maker of Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. Over the past six years, they have captured over six trillion anonymous speed measurements from customers all over the world. From these measurements, TomTom developed a congestion index or traffic “barometer” for cities around the world. The index compares travel times during non-congested “free flow” periods with travel times during peak hours. The difference is expressed as a percentage increase in travel time.
So how does Tampa Bay stack up? According to TomTom:
- Our congestion index is 22%, ranking us 12th out of 59 North American cities
- The average is 18% for North America, ranging from 33% (LA) to 10% (Kansas City)
- Internationally, Moscow has the dubious honor of earning TomTom’s highest congestion index at 66%!
- Our congestion index rose from 20% to 22% between 2011 and 2012, putting us in the top 3 cities for fastest increasing congestion, behind Houston and Seattle
- At 28%, our congestion index is worse on “non-highway” major, secondary and connecting roads; and for highways, our congestion index is 11%
- Our worst time of the week for commuting is Thursday PM; the best time is Friday AM
- Our worst time of day, by far, is the PM peak, when our congestion index soars to 54%
Other researchers produce similar reports. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute, for example, published the 2012 Urban Mobility Report, which calculated our Travel Time Index at 1.20, or 27th out of 101 U.S. cities.
The MPO continues to tackle traffic congestion with plans that include Intelligent Transportation Systems to smooth traffic flow and reduce delays due to crashes, diversifying modes of travel, and adding capacity where necessary.