Study: San Francisco, Oakland among worst traffic bottlenecks in US

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A stretch of road in the Bay Area that many drivers already knew to be a headache is now officially part of one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the country. (KGO-TV)

A new study shows that the San Francisco-Oakland area has two of the top 50 trouble spots in the country. The report says this proves America is stuck in traffic, costing billions in lost productivity and fuel.

The stretch of Interstate 80 between Highway 101 and the Bay Bridge is nationally recognized, but it's nothing to be proud of. That section has landed on the list of America's Worst 50 Traffic Bottlenecks.

Of course, this this comes as no surprise to Bay Area residents.

"The bottleneck is bad it backs up the entire highway all the way back up to Third Avenue coming over the hills," said Foster City resident Justin Kao. "So just because of that, it bottles up all of San Francisco, doesn't even matter what part of it."

These clogged lanes landed in 12th place on a list of fifty across the country. In the Bay Area, it's on the top of people's lists of places to avoid.

"When I take Ubers and stuff sometimes they try to get up on there," said San Jose resident Samantha Paulding. "And I'm like, 'No, just go through town and find somewhere else.' Because I'm just, I'm gonna be sitting up there forever trying to get home."

This clogged spot is only 1.9 miles long, but it's estimated to create a lot of waste. The American Highway Users Alliance says delays there cost a total of 2.2 million wasted hours every year and nearly 800,000 gallons of gas.

"You expect to see a big accident or something like that and it's just congested," said one driver.

The only people who can find something positive about the backup are people who live next to it.

"I mean, living right next to it we kind of appreciate it," said San Francisco resident Andrew Jeffrey. "Because they slower they go we don't get the freeway noise. But no, I mean, I almost never get on it, I always go a different way.

The other place that landed on the list is in Oakland at Interstate 80 between Interstate 580 and Ashby.

Caltrans says it's doing what it can to ease congestion. They gave ABC7 News a long list of the ways they're doing that, including supporting alternate forms of transportation and working to convert HOV Lanes to Express Lanes. Their full statement is below.

American Highway Users Alliance's (AHUA) report helps focus attention on the much needed stable source of funding for California's transportation system to help reduce congestion and meet the state's transportation needs.

In 1950 when much of its roadway infrastructure was built, California's population was 10 million. With 50 million people expected to live in California by 2050, we need to be innovative in how we move all those people. There is only so much roadway space available but the demand increases as more vehicles are added to the freeway system. To move people, vehicles and goods quickly, reliably and safely, traffic managers look towards newer and smarter technology to better manage the demand and harmonize traffic flow.

Caltrans currently addresses congestion through active traffic management, using technology that helps the existing freeway system work smarter and more efficiently to promote smooth, safe and consistent traffic flow. Caltrans is using technology to better "manage" urban congestion and, in the last decade, has invested in more traffic devices that relay travel information to Caltrans to help monitor traffic.

California's transportation system needs a stable and adequate source of funding to help reduce congestion and meet the state's transportation needs. With current funding, Caltrans is facing a $5.7 billion annual shortfall over the next decade. Proposition 1B provided $4.5 billion for congestion relief projects exclusively in California's urban areas and another $4 billion to improve public transit and reduce congestion. But that funding is almost completely extinguished.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, we have over 144,000 vehicle hours of delay per day. That amounts to about $ 1 Billion dollars in motorist delays and wasted fuel costs ( calculated at $ 14.7 per hour and $3.7 per gallon).

In the Bay Area, we have 133 highway improvement projects to be completed in the next few years, totaling about $1.5 B (including the toll program).

Caltrans currently addresses congestion through active traffic management, using technology that helps the existing freeway system work smarter and more efficiently to promote smooth, safe and consistent traffic flow. These include:

  • Real time Incident Management & Traveler Information Dissemination - such as Quickmap.
  • Ramp metering: We currently have 570 active ramp meters in the Bay Area with another 44 being activated later this year and yet another 91 in 2016, for a total of 705 by the ned of 2016. By regulating the flow of traffic entering the freeways during peak traffic hours, the overall flow of traffic on the freeways is smoother. The regulated flow means we can accommodate more vehicles per hour on the freeways, shorten commute times and provide a higher degree of safety.
  • Express Lanes: We are working with MTC and the Bay Area congestion Management agencies to convert over 465 miles of existing High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes into Express lanes, again allowing us to optimize freeway performance and capacity to the fullest extent possible.

  • Caltrans is also fighting congestion by supporting alternate forms of transportation. Caltrans work to offer more travel mode choices such as biking, walking, transit and rail will reduce people's dependency on vehicles as their primary travel option.
    Related Topics:
    trafficdrivingI-580I-80Highway 101traffic delayu.s. & worldstudySan FranciscoOaklandSan Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
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