In metro areas, traffic congestion still a concern

News AASHTO Journal September 09, 2003
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More than two of five adults in the U

More than two of five adults in the U.S. report traffic congestion is a problem in their communities, according to results from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistic's recently released Omnibus Household Survey.


The BTS survey found more concern about congestion in metropolitan areas where almost half the residents surveyed said congestion is a problem. Only one-fifth of their non-metropolitan counterparts reported traffic congestion to be a problem in their communities.


The OHS tracks the general public's attitudes about various transportation issues. The question on traffic congestion was included in three Omnibus Household Surveys in 2002. The BTS separated the responses from Metropolitan Statistical Areas and from those who are not in these areas. In general, MSAs are those locations with populations of 100,000 or more. There are four levels: areas of 1 million or more; populations between 250,000 and 999,999; areas with 100,000 to 249,000 people; and areas with less than 100,000.


In the U.S. there are 256 MSAs, 19 consolidated MSAs and 76 primary MSAs.


When asked if traffic congestion is a problem in their community, 42% of the population in September 2000 said "yes," as opposed to 58% replying "no." For residents in MSAs, 48% said "yes," while 52% said "no." For residents outside of MSAs, 86% replied "no", while 42% said "yes."


Those percentages remained very similar in an earlier survey that year, but in January 2000 47% of adults said traffic congestion was a problem, while 53% said it wasn't. For residents in MSAs, 53% said traffic congestion was a problem while the remainder said "no." Outside of MSAs, 21% said it was a problem, while 79% said "no."


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