Turns Out, Houston Really Does Have Worse Traffic Than Dallas

Categories: Transportation

lbjtraffic.jpg
TxDOT
It doesn't look it here, but LBJ is the second most congested roadway in the state, right behind I-35 W in Fort Worth.
Over the weekend, the Texas Department of Transportation released its list of the Texas' 100 most congested roadways, which breaks the news that LBJ, Woodall Rogers, and Central Expressway? All really congested.

You knew that already, but did you know that drivers on the stretch of LBJ between Central and I-35 are delayed by 2.7 million hours every year? Or that traffic on Central between 635 and downtown costs $104.45 million annually? Probably not.

Those are interesting enough statistics, but you might wonder what, precisely, the point is of compiling what amounts to a compendium of the state's most hellacious commutes. TxDOT explains in its press release:

"One of the best ways to keep Texas moving is to identify those roadways causing the most delays," said Phil Wilson, TxDOT Executive Director. "Results from this annual study validate our approach to moving aggressively with our priority projects in Texas to address congestion and help Texans get to and from work and help them easily and safely move around our great state."

The 100 Most Congested Roadways clearly illustrates the severity and extent of the Lone Star State's traffic problem. Results show 40 percent of the delay encountered by drivers takes place in the top 20 roadways on the list. Additionally, the total delay in hours - more than 137 million hours - carries with it an economic cost in lost time and wasted fuel of nearly $3 billion.

Another reason: to settle the age-old debate between Dallas and Houston over which has the worst traffic with actual numbers rather than the volume of whining. And while 635 is more heavily clogged than anything Houston has to offer, the Bayou City wins, hands down. Houstonians wasted 29 million hours in traffic on roadways there, costing $1.06 billion. In Dallas, the numbers were 20 million and $777 million, respectively. Just goes to show.

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22 comments
Scott W. Hatfield
Scott W. Hatfield

lived in Houston from 1977-1986. the traffic and roads there have ALWAYS been worse than the D/FW metroplex....

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Several maxims of traffic planning:

 

"The amount of congestion and delay on any road rises to the point where drivers begin to take alternate routes."

 

"In today's traffic climate, the capacity of newly expanded roadways is often less than the current traffic volume."

 

"Drivers will tolerate a long commute for as long as they perceive an economic advantage.  Once a driver no longer perceives an economic advantage they will either change jobs or change housing location.  If they are unable to change either their job or their housing location, they will then use mass transit."

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

This is why I use DART light rail when I go downtown. It is quicker and less stressful than driving there. The only exception I make is when I'm going to the Dallas Farmer's Market. That's because I'm coming home with to much stuff to easily carry on the train.

 

I really do not understand why so many people insist on driving to downtown. I know that I would avoid downtown like the plague if I had to drive there. But, I also avoid the stretch of 635 between 75 and 35E for this reason too.

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

Warning. Commuting traffic uses gas. Blows smoke. Warning.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Considering the fact that Houston's population exceeds Dallas's by about a million, it would be safe to draw the conclusion that Houston's traffic would be worse than Dallas's.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

 @Tim.Covington DART rail is excellent.  Dallas area folks have no idea just how good it is.   I'm comparing it to the subways I had to ride when I lived back east, and they were absolutely horrendous.

ryan762
ryan762

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz But you're talking about Houston the city versus Dallas the city. Metro-area-wise, Dallas has more people, but it's also more spread out (a guy in Arlington might not use North Central very often). But a lot of people commuting on Dallas highways aren't part of the population of Dallas-proper.

Nictacular
Nictacular

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz I haven't done the comparisons, but is that a trend that holds up across the board? Seems that would eliminate the need for these studies.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @ryan762  @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Im an arlington guy who drives Dallas roads but never get on central.  Im also very pleased that the freeway I take into downtown is also the easiest way in with the least amount of backed up traffic

ryan762
ryan762

 @ScottsMerkin  @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  @Tim.Covington Depends on when I'm going, but that's often been my experience, as well (not even including the 10 minutes or so I end up driving east to get to a rail station).

 

Though I think if I factored in the "looking for parking" part, rail might regain its time edge.

 

I still prefer the train ride (and a ticket is usually cheaper than gas I would use and the cost to park).

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Well, I'm talking from personal experience (in the past), and the experiences of friends (who depend on DART buses now). The buses themselves are fine, it's the routes/scheduling that stinks (with occasional problems with drivers). And, bus schedules on the weekend are even worse.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

 @Tim.Covington  I have to laugh at the guy who blasted me the other day on here for saying the buses were awful.  Then minutes later he wrote that the entire fleet was being replaced, thereby contradicting himself.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

 @ScottsMerkin   Hmmm.. That's not been my experience.  As an example, it took my wife and I about 30 minutes to drive to dowtown yesterday morning. She was helping a friend with her booth at Anime Fest and i needed to hit up the farmer's market. I headed on home. My wife took DART rail to the rail station nearest our home. From the Saint Paul station to the station nearest our house was 20 minutes. It was then another 5 minutes to our house.

Now, if DART's bus routes had been involved, I would completely agree with you. Dart's bus service is horrendous.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @chad  @ryan762  @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz its not as retarded as it used to be.  Ever since they opened Large Marge its taken about 5-7 minutes off the drive and it rarely backs up to hampton anymore unless there is a wreck.. Now for the idiot that goes from the left lane to the center, stays there on the ramp then stops trying to get back to the left lane to merge FUCK YOU.  Im trying to go into downtown and you stop traffic bc your dumbass is crossing the double white line

chad
chad

 @ScottsMerkin  @ryan762  @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz I-30? Are you not counting the retard brigade that backs up over the trinity because they can't figure out how to stay in their lane then merge one lane to the right to get on woodall rogers?

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