Cost & Impact of Traffic Congestion -4b

Recurring congestion occurs at regular times, although the traffic jams are not necessarily consistent day-to-day.

Embed
Is Responsive
Embed Code
Is Responsive
Embed Code

Write Up:

Recurring congestion comes at regular times, although the traffic jams are not necessarily consistent day-to-day. Nonrecurring congestion is an unexpected traffic crash or natural disaster that effects traffic flow. When either occurs, the time required for a given trip becomes unpredictable. This unreliability is costly for commuters and truck drivers moving goods which results in higher prices to consumers.

While the desired trend for both costs is downward, challenges exist in Missouri’s metropolitan regions and major truck freight corridors that continue to threaten this positive outcome. A comprehensive look at congestion that goes beyond typical solutions of adding capacity is needed. Using smarter technology to help guide motorists is a must. Still, the desired outcome is to lower congestion costs and demonstrate that traffic is moving more efficiently.

This report looks at the 2018 to 2021 cost of congestion in the urban areas of Kansas City and St. Louis, as well as rural I-44 and I-70 across the state. The 2021 target for statewide congestion cost was $348 million. The actual calculation from the Regional Integrated Transportation Information System data for 2021 was $349 million.  Reduction in travel due to the pandemic, changes from typical morning and evening rush hours, and reduced user costs were the driving factor in reducing the cost of congestion.

Congestion costs were reduced in the Kansas City and St. Louis Urban areas, which have typically shown to be steady or rising in past reporting periods.  Congestion costs increased on rural I-70 by $4 million from 2020.  Congestion costs decreased in all the other measurements leading to an estimated decrease in congestion costs of $87 million from 2020.  The same is true for travel on the rural interstate system.  Vehicle miles travelled remain essentially steady from those reported for 2020 according to Regional Integrated Transportation Information System data.

In 2021, total vehicle miles travelled is estimated to have exceeded the pre-pandemic levels of 2018.  However, congestion costs for 2021 are still at record lows.  

Purpose of the Measure:

This measure tracks the annual cost and impact of traffic congestion to motorists for user delays and vehicle miles traveled on select routes in the St. Louis and Kansas City regions as well as rural sections of Interstates 44 and 70.   

Measurement and Data Collection:

A reporting tool available in the Regional Integrated Transportation Information System looks at user delay costs. This data, in combination with industry standard costs for passenger cars and trucks, reflects the overall costs of congestion. RITIS also includes historic data so trend lines can be tracked and evaluated. The unit cost per passenger car is $19.64 per hour and is obtained from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unit cost per truck is $66.87 obtained from the American Transportation Research Institute, which specializes in tracking freight mobility and provides the best source of data related to freight costs. For previous reporting, the department used data provided by the TTI, which annually produces the Urban Mobility Report. The target for this measure is updated annually in April and is established by projecting a 10% improvement over a four-year average.

Results Driver

Contact Photo
employee photo
Nicole Hood
Title
State Highway Safety and Traffic Engineer
Department
Highway Safety and Traffic
Contact Info

Email: nicole.hood@modot.mo.gov

Phone: (573) 526-2803

Measurement Driver

Contact Photo
Brian Umfleet
Brian Umfleet, P.E.
Title
St. Louis District Traffic Engineer
Department
St. Louis District
Contact Info

Email: brian.umfleet@modot.mo.gov

Phone: (314) 275-1540