The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) released its national Urban Mobility report for 2019, ranking Baton Rouge the third worst in the country for mid-sized cities on the impact traffic congestion has on commuters, pointing to long overdue transportation infrastructure improvements.
The “2019 Urban Mobility Report” found that the average commuter in Baton Rouge spends 55 extra hours in traffic due to congestion annually, showing a substantial rise from 47 hours in 2015. TTI’s travel time index shows that a 20-minute trip during peak traffic times in the Baton Rouge area takes over 27 minutes.
Baton Rouge also ranks third worst among mid-sized cities for both excess fuel consumed per commuter at 25 gallons per year and for the amount of money congestion costs the average commuter at $1,010 annually.
For cities its size, Baton Rouge ranks sixth for freeway travel reliability with an added 28,362 hours in travel delays and 12,679 gallons in excess fuel.
“Congestion costs are continuing to increase, wasting massive amounts of fuel and time-$525 million in the Baton Rouge area to be exact,” said Hugh Raetzsch, President & CEO of Lyons Specialty Company of Port Allen and CRISIS Vice Chair. “This report provides concrete data that the cost of transporting goods and services continues to impact the Baton Rouge area’s economic development and quality of life.”
TTI’s report predicts a nationwide increase in congestion costs, delayed travel time, and excess fuel consumption, so Louisiana is not alone. However, while more than 30 states across the country have recently increased fuel or other taxes for expanded infrastructure investments that will mitigate these increases, Louisiana has twice failed to systemically address this issue.
“This report only confirms the urgency for building a bypass around Baton Rouge,” said CRISIS Executive Director Scott Kirkpatrick. “We need a big, impactful project to attack these dismal rankings and a new south bridge is the right project.”