Congestion Conundrum

In a survey of 1,360 cities in 38 countries, Los Angeles claimed 1st place as the most congested city, with over 100 hours a year wasted per person per year. The cost of this congestion is calculated as $19 billion. With 77% of people choosing their car, and only 5% on public transport. This is the land of the freeways.

New York came 3rd, with 91 hours wasted. The cost there is calculated at $30bn. Private transport is less dominant with a 30% share and public transport delivers 55% of journey miles.

London ranked 7th . Commuters are stuck in traffic for 74 hours a year, losing $12bn. London’s private transport share is 36%, with public transport taking 37%: walking and cycling take the remaining shares.

Amsterdam region came 182nd with 30 hours wasted per year.  Amsterdam’s modal share is 20% car and 17% Public transport with a substantial 32% cycling and 29% walking.

Singapore came 906th with less than 10 hours stuck in congestion. The Private/public modal share is split 30/70 respectively in Singapore.

Urban planners will point to the higher density of population in Singapore at 7900 people/sq.km.  LA tops the US chart with only 2,700 people/sq.km. London is more typical of the US at 1,510 people/sq,km.

Transport for London just reported losses approaching £1bn, and have shelved some improvement plans. Governments are reluctant to subsidise transport in rich cities and these projects only ever become more complex and expensive: Crossrail’s final price is expected to be £15bn.

The current model of freeways and mass transits do not work in low density cities.  We need a new role model.

Amstersdam area (Randstad) has a population of 7 million people (similar to London), and  a density of 1,240 people/sq.km.

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