JEFFERSON CITY – How would you like to spend a week’s vacation sitting in traffic? According to a study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the average American urban commuter can expect to experience 38 hours of delay every year, due to congestion.
Though any delay is less than ideal, Missourians fare better than most. St. Louis and Kansas City drivers experience 31 and 27-equivalent hours of congestion delay each year. Congestion is not limited to major cities. Industrial areas and tourism hot spots are among other sites of slow-downs.
Congestion adds to air pollution and fuel waste. It’s a concern the Missouri Department of Transportation takes seriously.
“We constantly monitor traffic on state highways. If an incident occurs, our maintenance crews and urban motorist assist teams respond to assist law enforcement and emergency responders by directing traffic and getting traffic flow back to normal as soon as possible,” said Don Hillis, MoDOT’s assistant chief engineer. “By remaining alert, setting aside cellphones and obeying speed limits, drivers can improve safety and avoid crashes that contribute to traffic delays. Safe and thoughtful habits can help reduce delays for everyone.”
Those congestion-reducing habits include:
• Use transit, bicycle or walk when possible.
• Pay attention to the roadway and signs. Traffic information on message boards can give you time to change routes. You can’t see this information if you’re looking at your phone.
• Flex work times to arrive outside of the peak traffic hours or consider telecommuting work options if your employer supports it.
• Investigate alternate routes. Know several different ways to get to work, school and meetings. You might discover a better route and can be ready with a detour idea if an incident blocks your normal route.
• Monitor road conditions. The MoDOT Traveler Information Map at www.modot.org , the free smartphone app provide road conditions and work zone locations.
St. Louis’ Gateway Guide and Kansas City’s Scout offer real-time traffic conditions including the location of major crashes or other incidents.
• Make use of Missouri’s “Steer it. Clear it” law. If you are involved in a crash and can steer your car, move it out of the driving lane and onto a shoulder or other safe location.
MoDOT makes use of signal timing and infrastructure improvements such as double-diamond interchanges to optimize travel times.
“This study comes at an interesting time,” said Hillis. “MoDOT is in the midst of updating its 20-year, long-range plan. We need to know the priorities Missourians want to set for the future of transportation in the state and invite all to join in the planning.”
MoDOT is holding listening sessions, a mobile tour and virtual forums so all those who are interested can actively participate in conversations about our state’s future.
To make suggestions or learn more about the program, visit www.missourionthemove.org