Unlike most other urban areas, where congestion decreased slightly from two years ago, the latest Urban Mobility Report from the Texas Transportation Institute shows that congestion has gotten worse in Honolulu:
*The number of hours per person spent stuck in traffic increased from 24 hours to 26.
*The travel-time index increased from 1.22 to 1.24, so it takes 24% longer to make a trip at rush hour than at other times, on the average.
*The annual cost of wasted time and fuel ballooned from $166 million to $199 million.
*Honolulu is the 28th most congested urban area in the United States.
Of course it is not new to residents that Honolulu is a congested city. Honolulu is one of the nation’s most lane deficient cities. It has a traffic congestion problem; not a transit ridership problem. A traffic problem cannot be solved with transit solutions.
Some say that Honolulu has such severe congestion because its car ownership is very high. Some politicians even claim that Honolulu is number one in car ownership. This is totally wrong. Honolulu’s car ownership ranks 64th in the nation, much lower than its rank in population!
So are we going to see an improvement in congestion? The rail proposal clearly says that: (1) TheBus carries 6% of the trips on Oahu now, and (2) TheBus and TheRail together will carry 7% of the trips 20 years from now. What’s the end result? Much worse traffic congestion.
I had a brief “exit interview” with 2nd ISFO speaker and presidential advisor on transportation Robert Poole. He noted that:
“Listening to the city and state transportation planners at the conference, I was struck by how passive they were in the face of Honolulu’s serious, ever-worsening traffic congestion.”
“Highly cost-effective techniques that have long been routine in mainland cities