A slight case of congestion

inrix albany congestion patterns 2013 March

Congestion patterns by day in the Albany metro, according to INRIX.

We've said this before, and we'll say it again: The Capital Region doesn't have traffic.

OK, sure, it has traffic. It has cars that go on roads and sometimes they have to slow down. Sometimes -- gasp! -- they even stop. But compared to most other larger metropolitan areas -- what passes for traffic here is nothing.

The annual INRIX Traffic Scorecard continues to provide evidence on this account. The congestion monitoring company's latest annual report, for the year ending in March, is out this week.

The Albany metro's national rank: #74.

INRIX figures traffic and congestion in this area caused a typical commuter to "waste" 3.6 hours over the course of the year. That's roughly 29 seconds per commuting trip.

That's down a bit from the previous year, in which INRIX figured the average commuter was caught for 4.6 hours.

To put this in some perspective, here are the figures for the top 5 most congested metros in the INRIX rankings (metro - hours per year):

1. Los Angeles - 60.3 hours
2. Honolulu - 51.1 hours
3. San Francisco - 49.7 hours
4. Austin - 38.7 hours
5. New York - 51.5 hours

Stick that in your breakfast taco, Austin.

Obviously, those metros are larger, so it's natural they'd be more congested. And Albany would probably be willing to trade some increases in congestion for some of the stuff those places have. But, hey, we'll think about that while we're relaxing at home after a short commute home.

Here's an explainer on the methodology.

Bonus commuting fact: The average commute time in the Albany metro area was 22.2 minutes in 2010, according to Census Bureau estimates. That was less than the national average (25.4). And it ranked 276th in the nation.

graph: INRIX

Comments

Oh. That must be why we don't have an efficient public transportation system.

Just today I found out a bus to Saratoga on a Saturday takes 3 hours from Albany and the train takes 50 minutes. Though for the train you'd have to drive to the station and stay over night as a train doesn't come back until 3:50pm on Sunday. :(

I may complain about the traffic, and I know it's nothing, but that doesn't make my road rage any better! ;) I

The first thing my out-of-town guests from CNY and western NY notice about the Albany area is the congestion, aggressive driving and road rage.

One of the things that struck me when I moved here from Chicago was just how poorly the freeway system is designed. While the overall volume of cars isn't too bad there are some interchanges (I'm looking at you 90/787/Route 9) that seem as if they are built to guarantee congestion. I can't fathom how any planner thought having two lanes of Route 9 join 90 and immediately become two exit-only lanes for 787, with a laughably short distance for cars to crisscross into their desired lanes would be a good idea.

If anybody could find a study on how much time residents in a region spend complaining about their general state of living, it's you guys. And when you do, I bet the Capital District would be on the top of that list.

*sigh*

I moved from Albany to Austin two years ago and I would love if the Capital District traffic I used to complain about moved with me. Great place to live. Bad place to commute.

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