According to the 2010 U.S. Census, New York/Newark is the largest metropolitan area in the country, home to more than 18 million people. Los Angeles is second with more than 12 million. Both cities are notorious for their traffic problems.
By comparison, Honolulu is only 54th in terms of population, yet it too has a notorious traffic problem. In fact, the latest INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard released just last month, ranks all three cities among the top 6% in the COUNTRY as having the worst traffic congestion.
The question is, how can a city like Honolulu, with a fraction the population of New York, have similar traffic woes?
The answer is area. According to that same 2010 census, the New York/Newark metro area covers 3,450 square miles with a population density of 5,318 people per square mile. Urban Honolulu covers only 170 square miles with an average of 4,715 people living in each of those squares.
So while Honolulu is just 54th in population, it is 5th among major U.S. cities as far as population density behind only L.A., San Francisco, San Jose, and New York. And oh, by the way, those four cities rank first, third, and second (the INRIX survey combined S.F. and San Jose into one metro) as the worst traffic cities in the United States.
As mentioned, Honolulu ranks among the top 6% of cities in the U.S. with the worst traffic. In all of North America (if Honolulu was actually in North America), Honolulu is 21st among 319 cities, and 116th
out of the 1,360 cities INRIX surveyed worldwide.
BY THE NUMBERS
According to a separate INRIX study, Honolulu drivers spend 61 hours per year stuck in traffic, not surprisingly, one of the worst in the country. During rush hour, Honolulu drivers spend 17% of their drive times slowed by congestion, the same as Chicago and Atlanta. Overall, Honolulu motorists spend 11% of their drive times in congestion, putting Honolulu on par with notoriously bad traffic cities like Washington DC (11%), Los Angeles (12%), and New York City (13%).
Add to all of this the fact that the same INRIX study found that once the average American gets to work, that person spends 17 hours per year just LOOKING for a parking stall, costing each an average of $345 in wasted time, fuel, and emissions.
RAIL TO THE RESCUE
something has to change. In Honolulu, that change is coming in the form of the Honolulu Rail Transit Project. By 2030, there will be some 40,000 fewer car trips per day with the rail system in operation. But what does that really mean? How does the removal of 40,000 cars on our highways per day change your commute?
|Train testing above Farrington Highway in Waipahu
Consider this, according to General Motors, the average car in the U.S. is 14.75 feet long. Using that figure, 40,000 cars end-to-end would equate to a line of automobiles more than 111 miles long! The next time you're stuck in traffic in a line of cars miles long, imagine if 111 miles of those cars were removed! That's the impact the Honolulu Rail Transit Project will have for the average Honolulu driver. To say nothing of the fact that commuters who choose to ride the rail will travel safely, reliably, and consistently from Kapolei to Ala Moana in just 42 minutes without any congestion whatsoever..