Motorists return at a snail’s pace – Lowell Sun

Traffic in Boston, while still not at pre-pandemic levels, has rebounded enough this year for drivers to idle for 78 hours in traffic jams.

That’s according to the INRIX 2021 Global Traffic Scorecard, which ranks Boston as the fourth most congested city in the country for the second year in a row, behind Chicago (104 hours), New York (102 hours) and Philadelphia (90 hours) in time. lost. .

Before the pandemic hit in the spring of 2019, Boston held the congested top spot, with 101 hours lost. With many people still employed remotely, the city has its work cut out for it to reclaim this dubious distinction of stall and crawl.

Traffic is up about 63% from a year ago, when stay-at-home advisories reduced idle time behind the wheel to just 48 hours.

Blocked roads waste time and money. Boston motorists who wasted 78 hours in traffic also paid a price at the pump, rising to $ 1,223 in sintered fuel per driver and $ 2.3 billion to the city.

Josh Ostroff of Transportation for Massachusetts predicts the region will likely come close to pre-pandemic traffic levels next year. “People don’t have good alternatives, and we have to provide those alternatives and options to travel at different times,” Ostroff said.

We are sure the MBTA would disagree with the assessment of Ostroff’s alternatives.

In fact, the T mounted an advertising campaign throughout November to get commuters back on buses, subways and trains.

Ridership in all modes of the MBTA system lags far behind the rebound in automobile traffic.

A spokesperson for the T recently revealed that in October, bus use had returned to only 59% of pre-pandemic levels, the metro (44%) and the commuter train (42% ) reporting even lower numbers.

Ostroff suggested congestion pricing could help alleviate traffic jams.

“It has been successful in places,” he said. “He values ​​people’s time. “

“If we can just get 10% or 20% of the traffic off the road, we can give everyone a better experience,” Ostroff added.

So far, the sense of security and well-being of being behind the wheel of your car has outweighed the cost in wasted time and money that comes with that choice.

Until that pandemic mindset changes, we doubt that the assessment of monetary penalties for rush hour travel will do much to deter Bay State drivers.

About Kevin Strickland

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