Traffic congestion

Think

Starter

Watch this video about a race across London to get you thinking about the issue of traffic congestion.

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Activities

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Traffic facts and figures

What it costs

United States of America

America's families spend more than 19 cents out of every dollar earned on transportation, an expense second only to housing, and greater than food and health care combined.

United States of America

The individual cost of congestion exceeded $900 per driver in 1997, resulting in more than $72 billion in lost wages and wasted fuel.

Lost time

United States of America

Congestion results in 5.7 billion person-hours of delay annually in the United States.

United States of America

Drivers in one-third of U.S. cities spend more than 40 hours a year (an entire work week) in traffic that is not moving.

Safety and health concerns

United States of America

In 2003 there were more than 6.3 million motor vehicle crashes reported to police. Of those, 38,252 crashes resulted in fatalities.

United States of America

In 2001, crashes were the leading cause of death for people ages 4-33 in the United States.

Public transportation

United States of America

For every passenger-mile traveled, public transportation is twice as fuel-efficient as private automobiles, sport utility vehicles and light trucks. (Source: Centre for Transportation Excellence)

United States of America

If one in 10 Americans regularly used mass transit, U.S. reliance on foreign oil could decline by more than 40 percent, or nearly the amount of oil imported from Saudi Arabia each year.

The environment

United States of America

A regular rush-hour driver wastes an average of 99 gallons of gasoline a year due to traffic.

United States of America

On-road vehicles are responsible for 44 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, one-third of all nitrogen oxide emissions and one-quarter of all volatile organic compound emissions.

Watch

Traffic Problems

  1. The following are all problems caused by traffic in urban areas. Explain what each problem is and provide a supporting factoid e.g.: ‘In London, 90% of air pollution comes from road traffic. One in seven school children in Britain has asthma, but children being driven to school are thought to add 20% to the number of cars on the roads during rush hours.’

Air pollution

Link

BBC News - Rising death toll of traffic pollution [1 September 2000]

Traffic congestion

Link

BBC News - Costs of congestion set to double [16 September 2008]

The speed of travel

Link

The Independent - London drivers spend 227 hours each year in traffic [12 February 2019]

Accidents

Link

BBC News - 'Most dangerous' roads revealed [24 June 2007]

Under use of public transport

Link

BBC News - Public transport 'poorly linked' [27 August 2007]

Parking issues

Link

BBC News - Workplace parking levy: Will you have to pay to park at work? [10 October 2019]

Review

Review

Fieldwork skill: Traffic Counts: Set up a system so that you (and your partner) can record the number and types of traffic seen in the clip above.