Traffic Jumps as U.S. Economy Shifts into Higher Gear

by inrixtraffic29. March 2013 00:00

Traffic is back, and in a big way.

The latest INRIX Gridlock Index (IGI) shows drivers have been spending a lot more time sitting bumper-to-bumper. Traffic jumped by almost 10 percent during February, for the largest year-over-year increase ever recorded by our 100-metro area index.

It looks like gridlock levels are finally climbing out of their long slump. While more people hitting the road might be awful for drivers, it’s also a sign that more jobs and more orders are being filled – great news for the economy.

The latest IGI shows that traffic in large metro areas like Boston, Detroit, Chicago and Houston also jumped dramatically. How did your city compare? Check out the complete list of IGI results here.

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Latest INRIX Gridlock Index (IGI) shows U.S. economy chugging along

by inrixtraffic7. March 2013 00:00

Feel like you’ve been spending more time in traffic lately? You might be right, but at least there’s a silver lining.

The latest INRIX Gridlock Index (IGI) – which now covers traffic trends in 100 metro areas — shows that drivers spent more time stalled in traffic last January than they did in January 2012. This is the second straight month that gridlock has increased over the previous year, ending a long series of year-to-year declines that had stretched back over 23 months. As an indication that more workers, more shippers, and more shoppers are hitting the road, January’s IGI is also a good sign for the U.S. economy. The IGI score was 6.4, meaning the average trip took 6.4 percent longer because of stalled traffic.

Inrix Gridlock Index

Yet it’s still too early to pop open the champagne. While the most recent IGIs have shown an upswing, a look back to 2010 shows just how far traffic has fallen – and how much it has yet to recover.

Inrix Gridlock Index Raw Scores

January’s IGI also showed why Utah was right to take “Industry” as its motto. Its Ogden and Salt Lake City metro areas saw some of the biggest jumps in traffic congestion year-over-year, growing by 202 percent and 113 percent, respectively. This lines up with recent reports that the state has seen more tax receipts flow into its coffers than it had expected. Tennessee also came out a winner: traffic in Knoxville and Memphis increased by 110 percent and 65 percent year-over-year.

As for IGI losers, traffic in the Kentucky region of Louisville was hardest hit: it fell by 62 percent from January 2012 to January 2013. The metro areas of St. Louis, Youngstown and Fort Myers also performed badly, with each seeing year-over-year decreases of at least 50 percent.

How did your city do? Check out the complete list of IGI results here.

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Newest INRIX Gridlock Index (IGI): Hope for the U.S. Economy

by inrixtraffic28. January 2013 00:00

The latest edition of the INRIX Gridlock Index (IGI) is out and shows that the U.S. economy might be on a comeback.

The IGI score for December 2012 was 15.2, meaning that the average trip took drivers 15.2% longer because of traffic. This might be a nuisance, but higher levels of traffic congestion also mean that there are more workers working, more shoppers shopping and more business activity overall. This latest IGI score shows that gridlock actually fell by 3% from the year before. So why is this good news for the economy?

Traffic usually falls in December, as holidaymakers stay home. While December’s IGI did show a slight decrease in traffic on a year-over-year basis, the 3% decline was actually seven times better than the year before. This is a gigantic improvement from the previous year, when gridlock fell by 21% from December 2010 to December 2011 year-over-year as double-dip recession worries kicked in.

INRIX Gridlock Index

Another pleasant surprise in the latest IGI was the increase in Detroit’s score from November to December 2012. In fact Detroit was the only area out of the IGI’s 10 metro areas to register an uptick from one month to the next. Great news as the Motor City tries to fight its way back to its former glory.

Here’s a look at how all of the areas scored:

  • Atlanta’s IGI score for December 2012 was 9.3, decreasing by 16.3% from the prior month. On a year-over-year basis Atlanta’s December 2012 IGI score was down by 14%.
  • Boston’s IGI score for December 2012 was 14, decreasing by 18.8% from the prior month. Year-over-year Boston’s December 2012 IGI score was up by 5.4%.
  • Chicago’s IGI score for December 2012 was 10.2, decreasing by 24.3% from the prior month. Year-over-year Chicago’s December 2012 IGI score was down by 16.9%.
  • Dallas’ IGI score for December 2012 was 9.6, decreasing by 17% from the prior month. Year-over-year Dallas’ December 2012 IGI score was down by 9.1%.
  • Detroit’s IGI score for December 2012 was 7.2, increasing by 9.8% from the prior month. Year-over-year Detroit’s December 2012 IGI score was up by 24.2%.
  • Los Angeles’ IGI score for December 2012 was 27.7, decreasing by 12.2% from the prior month. Year-over-year Los Angeles’ December 2012 IGI score was down by -6.9%.
  • Miami’s IGI score for December 2012 was 12.9, decreasing by 14.5% from the prior month. Year-over-year Miami’s December 2012 IGI score was down by 3.5%.
  • New York’s IGI score for December 2012 was 21.8, decreasing by 13.3% from the prior month. Year-over-year New York’s December 2012 IGI score was up by 6.6%.
  • San Francisco’s IGI score for December 2012 was 23.7, decreasing by 11.9% from the prior month. Year-over-year San Francisco’s December 2012 IGI score was up by 1.6%.
  • Washington D.C.’s IGI score for December 2012 was 15.6, decreasing by 13.2% from the prior month. Year-over-year Washington D.C.’s December 2012 IGI score was down by 7.8%.

Did you drive more, less or the same amount in December? And what’s your guess for what IGI will say about the economy next month?

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Jan. INRIX Gridlock Index: Why More Traffic is Good News for the Economy

by inrixtraffic7. January 2013 00:00

Traffic congestion

Traffic congestion is up in 10 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas, making the average driving trip 17.7% longer than necessary. This is according to the November 2012 aggregate score for the INRIX Gridlock Index (IGI), a monthly measurement of road traffic congestion.

So, more gridlock is bad, right?

Not necessarily. The good news is that the latest IGI score shows a sluggish yet enduring rebound in national traffic congestion providing further evidence of a slowly rebounding U.S. economy.

The mixed economic picture captured in the November 2012 IGI is all the more notable given the backdrop of lower national gas prices. While headline unemployment rates in IGI’s 10 metropolitan areas have also declined, the high number of discouraged workers nationwide (979,000 in November 2012) may exert downward pressure on overall traffic congestion.

Other highlights from the latest IGI release:

  • New York’s November 2012 IGI score was up 20% over the previous month, possibly reflecting a rebound from the reduced access seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
  • A November 2012 IGI score of 17.2 shows that Boston is regaining the ground it lost after dropping from 17.23 in September 2012 to 16.8 in October 2012. Like all of the cities in IGI, it has yet to retain the highs last seen in 2010.
  • Dallas’ November 2012 IGI score of 11.6 was little changed from its October 2012 score of 11.7, remaining stable in the face of the relatively upbeat assessment seen in the last quarterly survey of the Dallas Regional Chamber.3
  • San Francisco’s November 2012 IGI score saw a very slight decrease month-over-month from 27 to 26.9. The tech-hub’s score remained well above its 2012 low-point of 18.7 (observed in July).
  • Los Angeles once again took top honors with the highest IGI score in the nation of 31.6, meaning that gridlock forced its drivers to endure an increase of almost 32% in the duration of their average driving trip.
  • Miami and Washington D.C. are the only IGI metropolitan areas whose scores have increased every month since July 2012.

For the full set of data for November for the 10 IGI Metropolitan areas as well as other cities and countries around the world visit http://scorecard.inrix.com/scorecard/.

 

Feature photo courtesy of epSos (Flickr)

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