FHWA report reveals urban congestion has not improved

Time spent in traffic in urban areas has not improved much, according to the Federal Highway Administration’s Urban Congestion Trends report.

On Tuesday, Oct. 8, FHWA released its 2018 Urban Congestion Trends report. The report rates congestion in the 52 largest metro areas in three categories: hours of congestion, travel time index and planning time index.

Hours of congestion is defined as the amount of time when freeways operate less than 90% of free-flow freeway speeds. According to the report, the national average dropped by one minute from 4 hours and 17 minutes to 4 hours and 16 minutes.

The travel time index is the time penalty for a trip on an average day. For example, a travel time index of 1.30 indicates a 20-minute free-flow trip takes 26 minutes (20 × 1.30) during rush hours. Nationwide, that number remained stagnant at 1.33, or 26.6 minutes.