Congestion in the Metro Area
The ever growing population is having a huge affect on roadway and railway systems worldwide due to congestion. The increasing population adds vehicles to the roadway, which adds to the increased costs to businesses and individuals. The growth of the economy over the next 20 years will likely double in the demand for freight transportation, causing a strain in the capacity of Oregon’s highway and rail systems. New operational strategies and added capacity must be found to meet demand and fully satisfy the economic development, social, and environmental goals. Portland is a major Northwest Hub for freight shipments which involves major freight movement throughout the metro area. In order for deliveries and shipments to move efficiently, free moving roadways and railways are necessary. As the congestion in the metro area worsens, so will Portland’s ability to meet desired shipping times. Local business will struggle as inventory and supplies become more difficult to receive and ship due to time windows that are slowly closing because of heavy traffic. Many business have switched to JIT inventory systems which increase the number of freight shipments, which puts more trucks and trains on the roadways and railways. The cost of congestion is a growing concern for businesses and consumers. Businesses will pay more for the delayed time on the roads and rails, and consumers will pay more for the product as businesses have to raise prices to cover the costs of congestion. There are some solutions for this issue which include tolls, expansion of existing roadways, adding more rail lines and modifications of travel times. In order for our local economy to thrive and be healthy, local city planners must develop a new system or fix the current one.
Traffic congestion is related to a particular traffic network’s increase in capacity and demand causing the network to slow below designed speed limits causing longer trip times and wait times. The number of hours Americans waste sitting in traffic more than quintupled between 1982 and 2005, according to the Texas Transportation Institute. There are two different types of congestion, the first being recurring congestion which is caused by the overload of traffic on a particular roadway system at any given time, and the second being non-recurring which includes accidents, road construction, etc (U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Higway Administration). The Texas A&M Transportation Institute came out with the 2012 Urban Mobility Report (UMR) which provides data for traffic. The Institute stated in 2011, congestion caused urban Americans to travel 5.5 billion hours more and to purchase an extra 2.9 billion gallons of fuel for a congestion cost of $121billion (Texas A&M Transportation Institute ).
There are many components to calculating congestion. The cost of congestion is the value of extra travel time which is also known as a delay, as well as the extra fuel consumed by vehicles traveling at slower speeds. Travel time has a value of $16.79 per person, per hour and $86.81 per truck, per hour in 2011. Fuel cost per gallon is the average price for each state (Texas A&M Transportation Institute ). Travel Time Index is the ratio of the travel time during the peak period to the time required to make the same trip at free-flow speeds (Texas A&M Transportation Institute ). The combination of the amount of passenger vehicles and trucks leads to the bulk of the congestion. The U.S. population is constantly growing and so is the amount of passenger vehicles on the road. There are several factors involved with the increasing number of trucks on the road. Store inventory levels are being reduced to accommodate for a JIT inventory systems, the increasing number of products sold, and inventories are changing constantly throughout the