Maryland’s quality of life and economic development are being hampered by high levels of traffic congestion and reduced accessibility.
Gov. Larry Hogan has proposed a comprehensive set of transportation improvements designed to improve mobility, according to a new report released by TRIP, a Washington, D.C., based national transportation research nonprofit.
According to the report, “Keeping Maryland Mobile: Accomplishments and Challenges in Improving Accessibility in Maryland to Support Quality of Life and a Strong Economy,” the state’s roads carry the highest traffic volume in the nation and commute lengths are the second longest in the U.S. Traffic congestion costs the state’s residents and businesses billions of dollars each year and severely constrains the number of jobs accessible to residents.
The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration is implementing a plan to relieve congestion and enhance reliability, and Hogan has recommended a $17.8 billion multimodal congestion relief plan designed to accommodate growth and improve economic development.
Maryland’s major urban highways and roads carried the highest average daily traffic per lane mile in the nation in 2017. The average daily commute for the state’s residents was 32.7 minutes, the second longest average commute in the nation, behind only New York at 33 minutes. The average driver in the Baltimore area loses 50 hours to congestion, wasting time and fuel; congestion on the state’s highways, freeways and major arteries costs the public $3.4 billion annually in the value of lost time and wasted fuel.
Traffic congestion also impacts the number of jobs available to residents. While approximately 1.9 million jobs are accessible within a one-hour drive to residents of the Baltimore metro area, only 30 percent are accessible within a 30-minute drive. And, the number of jobs in the Baltimore metro area that are accessible within a 40-minute drive was reduced 38 percent as a result of traffic congestion.