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When it comes to traffic congestion, we need to measure more than just vehicles

27 Apr 2016 | Posted by | 3 Comments | , , , ,


The comment period closes Saturday, August 20th but we are sending in all of your comments to USDOT on Friday, August 19th. If you haven’t sent in a letter yet, you can do that right here.

Last week, USDOT issued a draft rule that will govern how states and metro areas will have to measure and address congestion, along with other metrics like freight movement and emissions. However, the rule as it is currently written would measure success in outdated ways. Old measures leads to old “solutions,” like prioritizing fast driving speeds above all other modes of transportation and their associated benefits.

Congestion We All Count

The comment period is finally open: So tell USDOT to take a wider view of success and change the proposed rule.

The rule as it is currently written fails to consider people taking transit, carpooling, walking, and biking. It would also penalize communities where people live close to work, or travel shorter distances at slower speeds.

This rule makes driving fast the ultimate goal of our transportation system, regardless of what type of road you’re on. Should driving fast be the highest priority on our main streets where people might be shopping or dining at an outdoor café? Should that be the priority in residential neighborhoods where children might be biking or walking.

Photo by NACTO. httpswww.flickr.com/photos/nacto/14442453218Of course not.

Success is about a lot more than moving cars fast. Tell USDOT to improve their proposed rule. Sign an individual letter that we will deliver on your behalf to USDOT.

This rule is particularly disappointing in light of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx’s unprecedented effort to improve Americans’ access to economic opportunity through better transportation options. Those are worthy goals, and passing the rule as currently written would be a missed opportunity to achieve them.

Deciding what projects we consider “successful” will influence which transportation projects are selected and built for years to come.

Tell USDOT that #WeAllCount and that the new rule should reflect that.


  1. Pingback: Today’s Headlines | Streetsblog St. Louis

  2. anonymous

    8 years ago

    I wish the smart growthers would stop pretending slow travel speeds are a good thing… that is what scares people away and why america has such a problem with the concept of building up- claiming that a congested road is successful is the kind doublespeak that makes me less supportive of these walkable communities that I should be

    Americans want to spend time in nice dense downtown settings just as much as anyone else but they want to be able to get there quickly and they want to be able to park easily… smart growth needs to start respecting those fundamentals more

  3. Charlie Greenwood

    8 years ago

    I got a book through interlibrary loan titled “Living Streets”. It came from the WADOT library. It looked like it had never been opened. Maybe the people at DOT need to read their own books. I also got the “Sprawl Repair Manual” through interlibrary loan. It looked like it had been rescued from the trash. Somebody’s been using the hell out of that one.