Sunday, May 26, 2013

Stuck in Traffic


By Julie Rahm

The August 2010 National Highway 110 traffic jam in Hebei province China is considered the world's worst traffic jam (ever).  Traffic congestion stretched more than 62 miles from August 14 to August 26. The traffic jam included 11 days of total gridlock! The event was caused by a combination of roadwork and thousands of coal trucks traveling to Beijing from the coalfields of inner Mongolia. As a result, the Chinese government implemented a series of drastic measures to tackle the city's traffic woes. These measures included limiting the number of new plates issued for passenger cars to 20,000 a month and barring cars with non-Beijing plates from entering certain areas during rush hours. But, the worst daily traffic occurs in Brazil, not in China.
According to Time magazine, São Paulo, Brazil has the world's worst daily traffic jams.  According to reports from the city's traffic management agency, the historical congestion record was set on June 1, 2012, with 183 miles of cumulative queues around the city during the evening rush hour. However, according to the firm MapLink, which tracks congestion from about 800,000 vehicles using onboard GPS, cumulative queues actually reached 349 miles. 
Since 1997, the Brazilian government has implemented road space rationing using the last digit of the plate number. However, during rush hour every weekday, traffic in this city of 20 million people is still severely congested. According to experts, traffic jams are caused by the accelerated rate of motorization and the limited capacity of roads and public transportation. In São Paulo, traffic is growing at 7.5% per year, with almost 1,000 new cars bought in the city every day. The subway has only 38 miles of lines. Citizens of São Paulo spend between three and four hours behind the wheel each weekday. To mitigate the traffic problem, in 2008, the Road Space Rationing Program was expanded to restrict trucks and light commercial vehicles.
Here in the US, the Texas Transportation Institute estimated that the 75 largest US metropolitan areas experienced 3.6 billion vehicle-hours of delay per year, resulting in 5.7 billion U.S. gallons in wasted fuel and $67.5 billion in lost productivity, or about 0.7% of the nation's Gross Domestic Product. The institute also estimated that the annual cost of congestion for each driver was approximately $1,000 in large cities and $200 in small cities. Traffic congestion is increasing in major cities with delays becoming more frequent in smaller cities and rural areas. According to traffic analysis firm INRIX, the 10 worst US traffic cities (in order) are: Honolulu; Los Angeles; San Francisco; New York; Bridgeport; Washington, D.C; Seattle; Austin; Boston and Bayboro.
     So, this week’s stuck traffic theme allows me to tell you about being stuck in life situations. Too often, we are stuck in a challenge with no movement forward. Either we are stuck, or the situation is stuck. An infusion of energy is required to break free of the quagmire. I can resolve the problem for you if you message me online at www.FB.com/ReliefWithJulie.  

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