Los Angeles is famous for many reasons. It is home to Hollywood and has been the subject of numerous songs, books, and movies. In recent years, however, LA has become popular for another reason – traffic congestion. LA has been identified as one of the most traffic congested cities in the world. The questions are “why?” and “how do we fix it?”
Estimates suggest that LA drivers spend an unreasonable amount of time sitting in traffic. Consider the following data from 2016:
- Drivers spend an extra 44 minutes per day in traffic due to congestion.
- Morning “rush hour” congestion is 67 times worse than non-rush hour traffic.
- Evening “rush hour” congestion is 84 times worse than non-rush hour traffic.
This data does not consider extenuating circumstances like special events or holiday traffic.
Why is LA Traffic So Bad?
According to researchers the problem boils down to a few factors. Those factors include:
- Size – LA covers a large geographic area, which can make commuting longer and congestion greater.
- Number of Drivers – LA has become known as the “driving city” because 84 percent of commuters drive or carpool to work. That is a lot of vehicles on the road.
- Number of Cars – LA is often compared to New York City in terms of congestion. NYC is a much smaller geographic area, but houses a similar number of residents. The big difference in congestion is the fact that there are approximately 2.6 million cars registered in NYC in 2016, compared to in LA, where there were 7.8 million.
Can LA Traffic be Fixed?
The answer here is “possibly”. In 2016, a $120 billion measure was passed to expand transit capacity on highways throughout the LA region. The project has a long-term goal of reducing the amount of time spent in traffic for commuters by 15 percent per day by 2057. Of course, a lot can happen in 38 years.