Sorry Austin, but Houston has knocked you out of the top spot. Well, at least when it comes to the top spot on the list of Texas' 100 most congested roadways, anyway. We haven't quite caught up to you on being a hipster hot-spot yet, but we suppose there's always next year.
According to an analysis conducted for the Texas Department of Transportation by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Houston's very own I-610 West Loop has officially surpassed Austin's IH 35 -- last year's winner of the prestigious traffic award -- as the most congested roadway in Texas. Awesome.
Good old 610 West is followed by IH 35 in Austin, the second place winner, with the Southwest Freeway in Houston, US 75 in Dallas, and Stemmons Freeway in Dallas rounding out the top five. So two of Houston's freeways managed to find their way onto that list because, well, traffic in this city is a nightmare. We all know that.
But wait -- there's more. The TTI Study also put a focus on freight-related congestion, perhaps just to add insult to injury. Turns out IH 35 in Austin still holds the top spot when it comes to those pesky 18-wheelers that clog up the roadways, but our fair city isn't far behind.
We may have lost to Austin on this one, but we still managed to come in not only second, but also third and fourth on the state's most freight-congested roadways. IH 35 is followed by the Southwest Freeway, along with the Katy Freeway and West Loop, and Stemmons Freeway in Dallas.
The study that launched Houston onto the top traffic list took into account a number of congestion measures on 1,783 roadway sections spread over 25 urban regions -- we're assuming this includes fist-shaking and rage-filled cursing -- to decide which of the roadways in Texas have the worst gridlock. Researchers also used roadway inventory and traffic volume information from TxDOT, along with speed data from INRIX.
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While it's obvious we're pretty much knocking the competition out of the park when it comes to traffic in this city, those freeway backups may be costing you more than high blood pressure issues.
According to the study, drivers on the 1,783 congested road sections endure a total of 570 million hours of delay each year, 34 million of which is caused by trucks. Those same trucks account for $2.6 billion of the overall $12.6 billion in total delay costs.
Part of the reason traffic in Houston is so awful simply a numbers game. The number of registered vehicles in Texas has nearly tripled, growing 172 percent in the past 40 years, says the TTI study. Highway space only grew by 19 percent during the same time period, which was exacerbated by limited number of transit systems in place in the state.
So, throw together those rapidly-multiplying vehicles, the slowly-growing roadway space, and the virtually non-existent transit systems and voila! You've got yourself 610 West, which is now officially the state's most congested freeway. Better luck next time, Austin.