Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Is Traffic Congestion Growing Three Times As Fast As Economy?

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the feels-that-way-in-austin dept.

Stats 187

cartechboy writes "Math watch time: For many traffic analysts, INRIX is considered the gold-standard. This week the company says traffic congestion surged in 2013 and grew over three times as fast as the American economy. The bad news: If true, this reverses two consecutive years of traffic declines with a six percent increase in 2013. (GDP, by comparison, grew 1.9 percent last year.) The analysts then theorize links between economic growth and traffic congestion, which makes sense on the surface. (As the economy improves, more jobs are created, so more commuters on the roads) But INRIX's theory creates as many questions as it answers. For example, the U.S. GDP has been steadily growing since 2009. So why did congestion decline in 2011 and 2012?"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

FUCK BETA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46422609)

Doing my part.

Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46422627)

Surely there's some way to blame Obama on this....

Re:Obama (1)

drainbramage (588291) | about 8 months ago | (#46422965)

Yes.

Re:Obama (3, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#46423083)

Actually... remember his "Shovel Ready projects"? How much you want to bet road construction is up this year due to those stimulus programs? I know the main clover leaf near me is getting torn up this year due to stimulus so at least that bit is Obamas fault. :-)

Ok, what do I win?

Re:Obama (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 8 months ago | (#46423943)

Does work from home have a meaningful impact yet?

Re:Obama (4, Insightful)

WarJolt (990309) | about 8 months ago | (#46423227)

We've equated job creation to economic growth. Not all jobs generate the same economic growth. The discrepancy mentioned in the article is a result of more people going to work to less productive jobs. This is a result of economic policies from republicans and democrats, but creating jobs is one of the reasons Obama was elected as president. Unfortunately that is only one side of the equation. The economy is a complicated system and any statement that overly simplifies it to create jobs and the economy will grow should be called into question.

Politician are to blame on both sides of the isle, but we elected them, so we have only ourselves to blame.

Re:Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423477)

Probably just some low-level operatives.

Austin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423875)

In Austin, they deliberately fuck up traffic in the name of "Traffic Calming".

They refuse to build new roads also. If not for the state putting in toll roads there would be no new ones.
They mistime lights. You are virtually guaranteed to hit every red light on any road.
They use giant, empty buses to create running road blocks on major thoroughfares.
They constantly tear up the same streets at least twice a year for who knows what reasons.
They regularly close streets in order to accommodate the latest parade put on by any number of special interest pervert groups.

Answer (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46422641)

So why did congestion decline in 2011 and 2012?

The false equivalence between GDP and labor (and therefore commuting.)

We're shedding workers. The labor participation rate is declining. GDP, like inflation, the unemployment rate, cost-of-living, etc. are political fictions derived from politically derived formulae.

Re:Answer (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#46423055)

Yes, GDP, unemployment and pretty much every other measurement the government puts out is made up from whole cloth and has very little to do with reality.

Re:Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46424119)

Uh... extraordinary claims?

Re:Answer (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 8 months ago | (#46423419)

Add to that increases in telecommuting.

I have not added to the congestion in 5 years.

Re:Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423857)

I ride my bike to work, so I haven't added to congestion for 5 years either.

It is the best way to get to work too.

Re:Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423695)

Commuting got much easier after 2008 here. :)

It picks up in really odd ways, tho:
Tennessee is a strange place.

Yesterday, traffic during my commute was terrible.

Today, it was almost empty.

If that many people have only MWF classes, there's a Lot of people in school instead of working.

The traffic here picks up a lot when gas decreases; then cools off as it slides back toward $4...

A lot of people here are now living off a bs disability; it comes with an apparently free script for Roxy or Oxycontin, so they sideline as drug dealers. At least they OD with some frequency, freeing us from paying for their drugs and all... I saw three obituaries over xmas, all ODs. (not that they print that, but I asked people who did know)

Our company has ~25% less employees than it had before 2008, and the ones they kept were not the good ones in a lot of cases, but the bs experts.
I've had to explain physics to a guy with "Physicist" in his title; I'm an EE, telling him how beta decay works, lol.

Re:Answer (1)

Copid (137416) | about 8 months ago | (#46423745)

For the most part, numbers like GDP, inflation and unemployment are useful to social scientists and policymakers who know their limitations and not necessarily super useful to the public. The methodologies aren't designed to be misleading, but they are designed to capture certain details that are useful and exclude certain things that the public might thing should be included for "common sense" reasons.

Anyway, I'd say that the decline in congestion during 2011 and 2012 might be largely due to the fact that 2011 saw much higher retail gas prices than 2012 and people changed their habits over then ext two years or so.

How is unemployment a "political fiction"? (2)

sirwired (27582) | about 8 months ago | (#46424133)

Of all the economic statistics, the unemployment rate is the easiest to understand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics calls or visit a randomly selected sample of Americans, ask them if they are employed, and if they are not, are they looking for a job. While they ask some other questions, those are the basic ones used to determine the widely-publicized unemployment rate. This is not a complicated statistical formula here, subject to all sorts of evil manipulation.

Now, you could argue that the labor participation rate is more useful, or perhaps include people that aren't working as many hours as they'd like, or include people that would like to work, but have given up looking. And they publish those numbers also for any that care to read them, so you can hardly argue that they are a big secret that The Man is trying to hide from you. But it's silly to call any of them "fictitious." And these formulas hardly seem "politically derived." (In fact, the BLS and their counterparts in the GAO are quite fiercely independent; the statisticians are all civil servants that don't really give a *bleep!* what congress or the president want the numbers to end up at.)

Inflation is much the same way; they publish numbers that are perhaps not as useful as we'd like them to be, but they have proven to be pretty free of political whims. It's a drawn-out, very public, process to fiddle with those formulas. If there was a hint that they were bowing to political pressure when calculating them, you'd know about it.

Traffic? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46422647)

Like the movie? Or Internet traffic? Or vehicular traffic?
 
Thanks for the context in the summary, douchemonger.

Re:Traffic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46422667)

I read most of TFS thinking the article was about network traffic. Then, I had to go back and start over. Fuckers.

Re:Traffic? (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#46422793)

Cars.

"Congestion" as a descriptor doesn't apply to either of the others. Hope that helps.

As to the inane question it asks at the end:

So why did congestion decline in 2011 and 2012?

Because the DOW doesn't determine if people are driving to work, unemployment does. One follows the other. The economy isn't a unified thing, and the rich can be making loads of money while the rest of don't.

Mod parent down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423023)

This is total flamebait. Either the parent is dim (everyone that I know calls it congestion), or he is trolling. Moderate him as such.

Re:Traffic? (4, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#46423167)

So why did congestion decline in 2011 and 2012?

Because the DOW doesn't determine if people are driving to work, unemployment does. One follows the other. The economy isn't a unified thing, and the rich can be making loads of money while the rest of don't.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J... [wikipedia.org]

Interestingly, the last time we had a "jobless recovery" of significant size was around 1935, during the Great Depression... which was caused by a bunch of bankers... including Goldman... Sachs...

Hey, am I the only one seeing a pattern here?

Re:Traffic? (2)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 8 months ago | (#46423413)

Around here at least, ISPs often refer to 'network congestion' caused by router outages, DoS, and other things, on their network status pages etc. So it can be used to refer to data networks...

Re:Traffic? (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 8 months ago | (#46423675)

Congestion is a commonly used in regards to network traffic, and since /. is a technology site, that would be the first assumption for a significant share of the users.

Work from home (2, Insightful)

Cheeze (12756) | about 8 months ago | (#46422661)

companies are starting to get smart and letting their employees work from home.

Re:Work from home (4, Funny)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#46422907)

companies are starting to get smart and letting their employees work from home.

Yes. Why should I hire someone to commute from across town, when I can reduce congestion and hire someone to work from their home in Bangalore.

Re:Work from home (4, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | about 8 months ago | (#46422963)

companies are starting to get smart and letting their employees work from home.

Yes. Why should I hire someone to commute from across town, when I can reduce congestion and hire someone to work from their home in Bangalore.

It's true -- if it's easy to do your job from home because you don't need regular interaction with your coworkers, it's probably also easy to offshore it.

Re:Work from home (1)

sjames (1099) | about 8 months ago | (#46423347)

Only sometimes. If you want employees to be available for teleconferencing, or prefer for them to be under the same legal system the offshore outsourcing doesn't work out at all.

Re:Work from home (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 8 months ago | (#46423503)

Only sometimes. If you want employees to be available for teleconferencing, or prefer for them to be under the same legal system the offshore outsourcing doesn't work out at all.

Depends how often you want them to be available for teleconferencing.

When I last worked with an offshoring company, the company had a USA based project manager that worked our normal business hours. We had an Indian based project manager/development manager that got to the office at noon our time (which I believe was midnight his time), and the developers were online by 4pm our time (4am their time) so we had a couple hours of overlap.

The project managers were USA educated and spoke fluent english, and the developers spoke pretty good english -- enough to communicate with them, but most communication went through the PM's.

Re:Work from home (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#46423805)

You can have regular interaction via the phone, video link, email etc. You can also visit clients or the office any time. You need to be in the same time-zone though.

Re:Work from home (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 8 months ago | (#46423139)

So Google isn't smart?

GDP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46422663)

Don't use GDP. They are trying to find a solid coorelation where one doesn't exist.

Isn't government spending part of GDP? (2)

mc6809e (214243) | about 8 months ago | (#46422675)

If all that money didn't increase total employment, then GDP could go up while the same number of people stayed home out of work.

The increase in congestion is actually a good sign. It suggests that the employment situation might finally be improving.

Re:Isn't government spending part of GDP? (4, Funny)

operagost (62405) | about 8 months ago | (#46422709)

Maybe Yahoo really had a lot of telecommuters.

Re:Isn't government spending part of GDP? (4, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 8 months ago | (#46422949)

Or Google's buses are really snarling traffic

Re:Isn't government spending part of GDP? (3, Insightful)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 8 months ago | (#46422801)

Or it could mean that local governments with a reduced tax base are now not taking care of roads. Or that they've cut back on public transportation and now people have to drive to work. Or that the people that have given up are now going to the beach instead. Or that people have given up on ever finding a new job, can't bear to think of the future and are jumping into traffic. Ot that the job situation is now is desperate that bosses can demand their employees not telecommute.

Re:Isn't government spending part of GDP? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#46422893)

Or maybe just regression to the mean. Maybe it's is as good as it's going to get for car people.

Re:Isn't government spending part of GDP? (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 8 months ago | (#46424051)

You also left out the possibiilty that loccal governments are taking TOO MUCH care of roads because with the right conditions, they can get federal funds and create some temporary local jobs.

Or instead of going home, they are going to their (1)

Marrow (195242) | about 8 months ago | (#46424197)

third job that day, using a car they cannot afford to repair, spewing the most blinding clouds of pollution you can imagine.

Re:Isn't government spending part of GDP? (1)

fermion (181285) | about 8 months ago | (#46423173)

I know this is going sound like an attack, but congestion is due to a number of factors. In my area the congestion has increased rapidly. One factor I have seen is that there are once again many trucks and SUVs on the road. In 2010, with gas prices usually around $4, I saw a decrease in the number of these large vehicles. Now gas is back down to around 3.50, which is what is was back in 2007. Cheaper gas not only means people can afford to drive more, it means they can afford less efficient cars.

Less efficient not only in fuel consumption, but also in road consumption. A while back Texas A&M did a road study on how traffic is effected by these large trucks. One finding is a stop lights they take about 1.5 times a long to transverse as a car. Check which cars make you miss the light next time you are trying to go through an intersection.

Re:Isn't government spending part of GDP? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 8 months ago | (#46423295)

If your going to blame a class of vehicles for slowing things down, blame the underpowered ones.

Acceleration is controlled by the driver, constrained by power and traction.

Re:Isn't government spending part of GDP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423353)

Acceleration is controlled by the driver, constrained by power and traction.

And mass -- see the problem now?

Re:Isn't government spending part of GDP? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 8 months ago | (#46423513)

No. Trucks have better power to weight ratios then most cars.

The problem is the drivers of mall utility vehicles. But they were just as big a problem 20 years ago when they drove Volvos.

Re:Isn't government spending part of GDP? (1)

afidel (530433) | about 8 months ago | (#46424073)

Incorrect, though the numbers are close, see Table IV.C.1-6 a [federalregister.gov] , the weighted industry average puts cars .001 HP/lb ahead of light trucks.

Re:Isn't government spending part of GDP? (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 8 months ago | (#46423447)

No no, it is the Ventura Freeway effect. As you double the number of cars, average speed drops by the square.

Re:Isn't government spending part of GDP? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423909)

Or the "FDOT" ("Florida department of transportation") effect -- a 2 or 4-lane road with 55mph speed limit gets widened to 6 lanes, then a week before the barricades go away, the 55mph signs get replaced with 45mph ones -- instantly neutralizing most of the benefits of having the wider road.

People in my area (Pembroke Pines, Florida, near I-75) are FURIOUS about the way FDOT mangled our interchange last year. Three years ago, you could exit northbound I-75 to eastbound Pines Boulevard at 80mph, sail around the curve at 70mph, have the exit lane join Pines Boulevard as its fourth eastbound lane, and continue at 60+mph for at least a mile until you got to the mall. FDOT decided the original "high-speed suburban" interchange was inappropriate for an "urban roadway", and completely fsck'ing mangled it. Now, there are traffic lights to exit in all directions. They took away the nice gently-curved and well-banked ramp that you could easily tear into at 80mph, and now force everyone to stop and wait for a green light to turn right. Then, adding insult to injury, they TOOK AWAY the fourth lane between I-75 and the first traffic light 1/4 mile east. Everyone who lives in the area is *furious*. Three years ago, it took me ~4 minutes to get from the point where the ramp started to break off to my driveway. Now, it takes AT LEAST 10-12 minutes, with 2 or 3 of them usually spent just sitting at a red light waiting to turn right.

layoffs, man (2)

swschrad (312009) | about 8 months ago | (#46422707)

layoffs in good jobs where you had to go in during rush hours. night managers at the Burger Doodle, not so much.

Freaking video ADS/ (0)

dacullen (1666965) | about 8 months ago | (#46422713)

First ARS, now Slashdot with autoplay video ads. Extra LOUD too I guess I'll turn adblock back on. Tried to support you, but tough nuggets now.

Re:Freaking video ADS/ (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#46422915)

What ads?

Nice and quiet around here (Ghostery, NoScript).

Refreshing.

Re:Freaking video ADS/ (1)

AndrewBuck (1120597) | about 8 months ago | (#46423159)

I had my ad block plus allowing ads for slashdot for quite a while, too. I did this because they actually gave me a checkbox to disable ads and I thought, "well that is very nice of them, I think I will support them and actually allow ads (and disable ABP so I see them)". I see that it is set to block again now though, I did this a while back. I can't remember the exact reason, but I think it was similar to your experience. Some really annoying ad that drove me to re-enable the block.

Keep it up dice, soon your bandwidth costs will be so much lower your profit will surely go through the roof. Oh and just for good measure since I haven't posted one of these yet... fuck beta.

-AndrewBuck

tax revenues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46422719)

Tax revenue (road construction) trails economic growth by what, a year at least? If you have exponential economic growth, expect that discrepancy to be exaggerated.

Particularly so since the increase in revenue will be unevenly geographically distributed, plus property values nationwide still haven't returned to 2008 levels.

Congestion declined in 2011/12 because of the persistent, delayed suppression of consumer demand that accompanied the Great Recession.

Re:tax revenues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46422759)

There is also the fact that traffic congestion lowers the total of wrecks in an area, making the city look good. For example, Austin has a "no-build" policy with only toll roads as improvements since the mid-1990s. However, as stats go, the roads are considered safe because they are a parking lot, and roads that are not gridlocked bring revenue.

The bad thing is that high traffic isn't something a city really will care about, unless they are trying to woo a big company or event to their area.

Re:tax revenues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46422899)

Tax revenue (road construction) trails economic growth by what, a year at least?

That depends entirely on the currently elected government.

With a Dem gov't, tax revenue leads anticipated-but-never-materializing economic growth.

With a Rep gov't, tax revenue leads economic growth for a segment but the reps tell everyone there are no tax increases.

Vote them both out, IMO.

Consumer confidence? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 8 months ago | (#46422733)

Having a job is one thing. Having a job and thinking it'll be there for a year or two is another. Everyone was financially "turtling up" so it's not a real surprise that indicators like traffic will lag behind. I was talking to a trade school instructor who said that businesses are STILL cutting back on good will perks like donations of equipment and time to students. Even the silly little fun trinkets they used to hand out at intramural competitions are gone.

GDP and employment (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46422737)

The article keeps trying to compare GDP with employment. GDP has been increasing but yet unemployment is stuck at about 7%.

Why is that?

Because the "recovery" is not happening to the average guy. We are seeing a gutting of the middle class, more folks are getting (sometimes multiple) lesser jobs, and yet, companies profits are at record levels.

And in the meantime, the uultra-rich are getting ever more richer and scolding us peons that "we could be in India!" so shut the fuck up!

Income and capital gains taxes at 1950s level is what we need.

Re:GDP and employment (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423069)

So the solution to middle class being left behind is to raise their income tax?

Brilliant!!

Why should the middle class keep what they work for when the government is FAR better at spending it for them?

Re:GDP and employment (5, Insightful)

AndrewBuck (1120597) | about 8 months ago | (#46423265)

He said return the rates to the 1950's. I don't know what the middle class rate would have been back then but I don't think it was all that dissimilar from the rates today. The top tax rate, however, was massively higher, like between 80 and 90 percent for income over (I think) $150,000. I assume this is what the GP was posting about.

Of course the "job creators" (praise be upon them) will say that this will destroy jobs since we are taking money away from them that they could be investing instead. This is true to some degree, however there is another competing effect that they seldom mention. If your marginal tax rate is 90% on income you have very little incentive to take your pay as income. Instead you are far more likely to either leave that money in the business you own allowing the business to grow, or you are likely to take your "pay" as stock in the company, giving you a strong incentive to see the company viable in the long term.

Of course the rich never tell you about this second effect because it goes against the argument of letting them take home millions of dollars in direct pay. I don't really know which of these two effects are stronger, but looking at only one whilst ignoring the other is a pretty lopsided argument. If they are so concerned about encouraging investment from the wealthy they should be advocating for an increase in the top income tax bracket and a decrease of the capital gains tax. They spend plenty of time arguing for lower capital gains but somehow forget the higher income tax, funny how that works.

-AndrewBuck

Re:GDP and employment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423997)

an increase in the top income tax bracket and a decrease of the capital gains tax

This is the catalyst of the fall of the middle class (sorry for the pompousness). The middle class takes most of its income directly. The rich take most of their income via capital gains. This have been the case for a long time.

Re:GDP and employment (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 8 months ago | (#46423255)

Income and capital gains taxes at 1950s level is what we need.

Just FYI, 1955 tax rates (with the indices adjusted for inflation) mean most everyone will be paying higher taxes, not just "the rich".

Note that, by "most everyone", what I really mean is "everyone". The poor will be paying around twice as much as now, everyone else in the vicinity of 1.5x as much, up until you get to the "filthy rich", who will pay more (around twice as much).

Re:GDP and employment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423375)

Income and capital gains taxes at 1950s level is what we need.

Just FYI, 1955 tax rates (with the indices adjusted for inflation) mean most everyone will be paying higher taxes, not just "the rich".

Note that, by "most everyone", what I really mean is "everyone". The poor will be paying around twice as much as now, everyone else in the vicinity of 1.5x as much, up until you get to the "filthy rich", who will pay more (around twice as much).

My marginal tax rate is around 40%. They paid 80% tax back then? I'm in favor of higher taxes on people like me, but 80% seems a bit excessive.

Re:GDP and employment (2)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | about 8 months ago | (#46423451)

The highest federal income tax bracket was over 90% in the 50s, more than twice as much as your marginal rate. Not sure of the effective rate for the era.

Re:GDP and employment (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 8 months ago | (#46423473)

It is like gross vrs net.

No matter what the gross tax rate is, people avoid paying taxes in more aggressive ways until it hits about 8% of GDP.

Re:GDP and employment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46424175)

I think the highest marginal tax rate ever in the US was 94%. This would have been sometime in the mid 40's. The highest rate was 91% for a very long time, through the mid 60's, then slowly crept downward. Rates didn't really majorly change until the 80's when the number of tax brackets was chopped down to only two, the highest being around 22%.

Re:GDP and employment (1)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 8 months ago | (#46423425)

Would love to see the math behind this. Do you have a source?

Re:GDP and employment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423767)

Would love to see the math behind this. Do you have a source?

I love how you Republicans are too stupid to do math. If the poor are paying hundreds of times as much in taxes (nearly 0% today on average versus over 10% when we were ruled by only old white men), then how can you claim that is not true? Fuck you and your conservative agenda. The rest of us know the truth about your kind. And, please stop trying to ruin this site by making everything about politics. It's tiresome.

Re:GDP and employment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423327)

The article keeps trying to compare GDP with employment. GDP has been increasing but yet unemployment is stuck at about 7%.

Why is that?

Because the "recovery" is not happening to the average guy. We are seeing a gutting of the middle class, more folks are getting (sometimes multiple) lesser jobs, and yet, companies profits are at record levels.

And in the meantime, the uultra-rich are getting ever more richer and scolding us peons that "we could be in India!" so shut the fuck up!

Income and capital gains taxes at 1950s level is what we need.

I'm so glad we elected a President who promised to fix the growing income divisions in the US.

Of course, if he DID fix it, he'd have no reason to be reelected....

Re:GDP and employment (1)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 8 months ago | (#46423421)

The article keeps trying to compare GDP with employment. GDP has been increasing but yet unemployment is stuck at about 7%.

Unemployment peaked at 10% in October of 2009. It's now down to 6.6%, down 130bps in the last year. Still too high, but it has been declining steadily. This chart doesn't meet my definition of "stuck."

http://data.bls.gov/timeseries... [bls.gov]

Re:GDP and employment (1)

macpacheco (1764378) | about 8 months ago | (#46423809)

Double taxes on gasoline, triple taxes on coal. Everyone making up to 40000 dollars/year gets a 100% exemption from payroll and federal income taxes (to offset the higher taxes on dirty fossil fuels).
This would fix climate change, replace the minimum wage increase, offer a serious incentive for heavy telecommuting and make alternate fuel vehicles really get going.
There you have, either you telecommute, live close to work, or move to an alternate fuel vehicle (electric, natural gas or ethanol).
Only the USA offers cheap gas to its citizens, every country with serious traffic gridlock problems charges about twice as much as the USA for gas (except for countries that are large oil exporters).
The problem with the USA is you don't want real solutions, you prefer to keep living in traffic hell.
I think this will be the only substantive suggestion made in this whole debate.

2011/2012 GDP growth is a lie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46422785)

the 2011/2012 GDP growth was a lie, simply put. You can guess why, when you see 2012 is divisible by 4.

Re:2011/2012 GDP growth is a lie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423109)

I'm guessing you're talking about a leap year. You know that extra day is less than one third of one percent of a year? We can be very generous and assume that 0.33% compounded on itself over the course of the entire year (it would be more like half a year in reality), and then round up very generously, and give a 0.5% boost to growth. And the growth rate is still over 3% in 2012 (and boosted in 2013).

Re:2011/2012 GDP growth is a lie (2)

AndrewBuck (1120597) | about 8 months ago | (#46423311)

Not sure if you are serious or if you were making a toungue in cheek joke. What the GP was referring to was that 2012 was a presidential election year and so he is making a thinly veiled attack on the Obama administration, alledging that they changed the GDP number to make themselves look better. Never mind that yearly GDP numbers don't come out until well after the election which happens in November, and also ignore the fact that they couldn't be bothered to put their name on their bullshit accusation. Just another AC troll. Every day I start to wonder more and more about how many people on this site are paid just to muddy the waters to make sure we argue with eachother over "team red" vs "team blue" instead of looking at the 1% who are fucking us over and using bullshit like this to make sure we are too busy arguing with eachother to notice.

-AndrewBuck

Re:2011/2012 GDP growth is a lie (1)

tsqr (808554) | about 8 months ago | (#46423367)

I'm guessing you're talking about a leap year.

Seriously? Your arithmetic is great and all, but really; you jumped to leap year's effect on GDP? He's talking about 2012 being a Presidential election year.

The true cause of congestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46422887)

The true cause of congestion is government incompetence and mis-spending, not economic growth. Out in California, we pay $.30 (or more) per gallon gas tax that was designed to go into a lock box for transportation. Much of it is raided by politicians for their social programs. What is left is spent mostly on municipal transportation systems; trolleys, sprinter trains and buses, lots of buses which consistently have 2-5 passengers every time I see one (figure the carbon footprint on that inefficiency, a 40,000lb vehicle in stop and go traffic all day to move a tiny fraction of people around the city). The cities do this because they can and because they don't want private cabs to do the job because it would put city workers out of work... So instead of putting 100% of the gas tax on roads and freeways, only a small fraction goes where it was supposed to, because it is not politically "sexy" to fix and widen roads. (But it is extremely green. Commuter's gas mileage goes in the toilet in slow stop and go traffic, not to mention added safety risks associated with large differential speeds caused by traffic jams.) I don't even mind the other mass transit options, but they have to have good capacity usage, and if there is demand, let private industry invest to get it done and run the damn things, because government run anything has zero customer service, and zero incentive to improve 99% of the time.

Re:The true cause of congestion (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 8 months ago | (#46423651)

If there is demand for freeways, let private industry invest to get it done.

Perhaps an additional cause is to blame? (1)

portwojc (201398) | about 8 months ago | (#46422901)

What about all the road construction that is going on? That can be a big cause of congestion.

driving farther to get to work (5, Insightful)

emptybody (12341) | about 8 months ago | (#46422933)

as the economy has come back, people have been forced to take jobs further from their homes - wherever they can get one.
with the housing market a mess, they also couldn't easily move closer to work.
when they can sell their houses, and move closer, or there are more jobs closer, we will see an adjustment.

personally, i want to see traffic hell. enough that we bring back light rail as a priority.
its stupid that we do not have lines running down the center of most highways in the country.

Re:driving farther to get to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423769)

Rail lines down the center of highways aren't really much of a panacea. Take a good look at the existing development adjacent to most freeways. If you put a rail station in the middle of the freeway straddling an interchange, realistically somebody who exits the train at that station is going to have to walk at least a quarter-mile just to get to anything besides a sidewalk over/under/along a road or parking. Far better to build the rail line a half-mile or so parallel to the freeway in its own corridor, so you can surround it with dense development that transitions into the freeway-adjacent development you would have had to walk a half mile to reach anyway. It makes things on the OTHER side of the freeway less accessible to transit, but makes the transit line itself up to 50% more useful by allowing dense development around the station itself.

Layout-wise, something like this (assume "| |" is freeway, "H" is highway-adjacent development, like a big-box store, "T" is dense transit-appropriate development, "#" is the transit line itself, "M" is medium-density residential (townhomes, 3-5 story apartments, etc), and "S" is single-family homes on cul-de-sacs:

S H | | H T # T M S

(sorry about the bad ASCII art, but I think it helps to illustrate what I'm talking about)

Re:driving farther to get to work (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 8 months ago | (#46423825)

Sheesh. The amount of lack-of-self-awareness in these types of posts never ceases to amaze me. People don't live in the suburbs because they want to drive an hour every day, they live there because the schools in the city are hellholes that can't even graduate kids who can read.

Entirely predicable and sad that this point of view has a hatred problem and greatly desires to see others suffer. Just...sad.

Re:driving farther to get to work (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 8 months ago | (#46424157)

Schools in (some) downtowns are bad because the poor and minorities are zoned out of the suburbs [leagle.com] through zoning laws that raise the cost of suburban housing [streetsblog.org] . Besides raising the cost of housing, laws such as minimum parking requirements and prohibitions against accessory dwelling units reduce property rights and restrict economic mobility, all in the name of keeping the riffraff (i.e. the poor and minorities) out.

Another factor that makes schools in poor areas perform poorly is the fact that often freeways are funded in part by regressive sales taxes such as Measure R in Los Angeles rather than 100% by user fees alone. Therefore, freeways tend to move wealth from the poor to the rich, further restricting economic mobility and trapping people into a cycle of poverty.

So the suburbs seem like a nice place to raise a family, but only because the cost is greater than what those who live there pay.

GDP growth != more jobs created (4, Insightful)

muhula (621678) | about 8 months ago | (#46422991)

The great recession of 2009 became the justification of many companies to lay off workers despite healthy [aol.com] revenue [huffingtonpost.com] and increasing [bizjournals.com] profits [usatoday.com] . While this may contribute to the GDP, it doesn't do much for employment.

Re:GDP growth != more jobs created (1)

tsqr (808554) | about 8 months ago | (#46423409)

The great recession of 2009 became the justification of many companies to lay off workers

Hiring isn't driven by revenue and profits, although the lack of them will certainly put a damper on things. Hiring is mainly driven by demand for goods and services, unless the business in question has undergone a revolution in automation.

Transit is full? (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 8 months ago | (#46423003)

But INRIX's theory creates as many questions as it answers. For example, the U.S. GDP has been steadily growing since 2009. So why did congestion decline in 2011 and 2012?"

I know in my area, transit has become decidedly less desirable in the past year or so as it's become more crowded. A few years ago I could almost always get a seat and commute in relative comfort. Now the trains are so full that some days it skips my stop (or even if it stops to let someone off, there's not enough room to squeeze on). Biking is an option for me, so I've been biking regularly, but if that wasn't an option, I'd probably drive rather than take an unreliable train that's uncomfortably full. Equipment purchases are large capital expenses that can take years or evena decade to plan, fund, and complete, so public transit lags demand.

Re:Transit is full? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423645)

> transit has become decidedly less desirable in the past year or so as it's become more crowded

Exactly. No one uses it any longer because it is just too damn crowded. In the neighborhood in Seattle where I live, every friend I have has given-up on taking the bus because the two closest lines are always packed. That is why the number of cars on the road has increased.

One data point does not a proof make (2)

neonv (803374) | about 8 months ago | (#46423005)

According to INRIX, traffic in the U.S. reversed two consecutive years of declines with a six percent increase in 2013. The country's GDP, by comparison, grew 1.9 percent last year. INRIX suggests that continued economic growth will result in more traffic congestion, longer commutes, and more productivity losses.

INRIX is getting their conclusion from one data point: last year. Even though previous years do not support their conclusion, multiple data points. As a result, their conclusion that traffic increases at 3 times GDP growth is not convincing. They need to put a lot more effort into this study. Even the article author pointed that out,

Bottom line: roadways are complex ecosystems, and congestion results from jobs, commuters, road work, mass transit, and countless other factors. While it's encouraging to see traffic jams as symbolic of economic growth, that's not an accurate or complete picture.

In a complex environment like this, data needs a control point and a link from cause to effect. All I see here is a very loose correlation in one year of data. Hence, this is FUD.

Other Factors (1)

aaronb1138 (2035478) | about 8 months ago | (#46423025)

The increase in congestion due to increased economic activity and reduced unemployment isn't just a factor of more people on the road. When the economy improves, people get offered better piles of money to take jobs farther from their homes. People drive farther in a good economy. Then add in all the ancillary travel from increased economic prosperity, eating out more, buying more stuff, going more fun places.

They all came to South Florida (1)

TigerPlish (174064) | about 8 months ago | (#46423065)

Traffic in South Floriduh seems to be much worse than it was 2 or 3 years ago. Seems to be more people and more cars.

Re:They all came to South Florida (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46424025)

Let's not forget the fact that Miami-Dade Transit responded to surging Metrorail ridership by... reducing service and running trains less frequently (especially on weekends). Utterly insane, but sadly par for the course when it comes to Dade County.

Of course, Dade County voters also got screwed by the biggest bait-and-switch scam by a government in American history... the "People's Transportation Plan", which promised new Metrorail lines to places people care about (like west Dade and Kendall), but so far has delivered nothing besides salary bonuses for MDTA executives and buses the majority of taxpayers will never ride & derive zero benefit from (at least Metrorail gets a few drivers physically off the road; buses just clog traffic by turning the right lane of major roads into adhoc parking lots every time they stop).

Wealth Pooling (2)

bennomatic (691188) | about 8 months ago | (#46423095)

If you look at places like San Francisco and the way wealth is pooling there, it's easy to understand why traffic congestion is growing faster than the economy.

If you put a bunch of rich-ass people together in one highly-concentrated place, even if all of them are working from home or taking Google busses to work, they're going to need services. Grocery stores, plumbers, babysitters, teachers, restaurant workers, you name it. Many of those sorts of jobs are not ones which are compatible with telecommuting--if my garbage man starts working from home, I'm going to be pissed!--and most of them are not of an income level which would allow a comfortable residence within the city where the job is. If you're making $30,000 a year as a teacher, spending $2,000 a month on a 400 sq ft studio apartment so you can walk or bike to work doesn't leave much left over for food and the like.

So inevitably, thousands upon thousands of workers need to commute various distances to keep their jobs and live in some level of comfort.

I realize that SF, as a peninsula, is a fairly unique scenario: it provides a high-value destination with severely constrained access points. Maybe not the actual logical conclusion of all similar circumstances, but a useful indicator of how things might play out in areas where money is aggregated into smaller and smaller groups who then take over relatively small and very desirable locations.

Re:Wealth Pooling (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 8 months ago | (#46423349)

SF has been the realm of trust fund kids and single gay professionals for decades.

It's not like the middle class lived there prior to Google buses. The ones complaining are mad because their trust funds won't cover rent in SF proper anymore.

Confusing Correlation? (1)

ObnoxiousAnaxagorian (3566215) | about 8 months ago | (#46423103)

Isn't this confusing the issue? Traffic Congestion isn't traffic volume. One huge factor could easily be weather in which we've had some of the worst weather in a few years. Which ruins roads and congests traffic. They're looking at this as "How difficult it takes to get to work" as an indicator of our GDP? just because they lined up for a year or 2 doesn't make a correlation... Other factors (+/-): Working from home, bad roads, increase in jobs, older cars on the road, more accidents.

Because ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 8 months ago | (#46423143)

... a part of the economic recovery involves people digging holes in the roads. So more traffic and less roads leads to higher levels of congestion.

House and States defunded transit (5, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 months ago | (#46423275)

See, people are too stupid to realize a bus with 60 people that gets defunded means there are now 60 more cars crammed onto the same failed underfunded highway infrastructure.

A 5 percent reduction in transit funding results in a 30 percent increase in traffic congestion and a 25-50 percent increase in commute times.

Penny-wise.

Pound-foolish.

NJ Governor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423377)

I clicked this link hoping to see a story about Chris Christie. What a disappointment.

Because Netflix hadn't signed deals yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423517)

It's clear the reason for the traffic disparities are a direct result of Netflix not yet signing deals with the major ISP's; allowing them to double dip on each byte of traffic they handle.

Where is Chris Christie? (3, Funny)

mspohr (589790) | about 8 months ago | (#46423553)

I think that we need Christie to do a "traffic study" to sort this out once and for all.

Model of efficiency (1)

digitalPhant0m (1424687) | about 8 months ago | (#46423681)

I know at 5 o'clock when I'm getting onto the freeway and see miles of cars standing still, then looking around at the beaten, downtrodden, frustrated and exhausted commuters that this is indeed the pinnacle of human efficiency.

Because the economy isn't growing (4, Insightful)

Trailer Trash (60756) | about 8 months ago | (#46423881)

The federal government has been spending ever more money in order to prop up the GDP (remember that gov't spending is part of the GDP). In reality, the economy has been shrinking for some time except in Washington DC. And, no, we can't continue this forever or even much longer.

Idiots (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 8 months ago | (#46424005)

If you had a nation of perfect drivers then I suspect you could pack many times more cars on the road. But needless to say we have a bell curve. I find that there are a few smart people who are bad drivers but that many people who are genuinely stupid are also really bad drivers. So as these really stupid people start to find jobs they then drive to these jobs. So as the left side of the bell curve is being tapped for drivers you have a potential that not only are these drivers bad but that with each tiny addition of these magically bad drivers results in a massive set of problems.

For instance the last time I was in Washington DC heading south I got stuck in a 3.5 hour traffic jam. It was caused by one car that had managed to end up upside down in the ditch. So if you could have eliminated that single bad driver from the road traffic may have run fairly smoothly that afternoon.

So if one assumes that stupid people are worse drivers (which a UK study agrees with) and that stupid people are generally the last people to get jobs and are the first to get fired then you can't look at the total number of drivers or even road capacity but the probability that a supremely bad driver will have a stunningly huge impact on traffic patterns.

The other question would be to look at how long after an economic downturn that stupid people can keep driving. For instance in 2008 white collar people lost their jobs and many construction people lost their jobs. But did it take a while for the supremely stupid to lose their jobs. Or did they lose their jobs but it took until 2011 for their cars to wear out and for them to give up on finding a new job?

I distinguish bad drivers from the magically bad generally not just by driving skill but by decision making. Not being able to parallel park is different than going below the speed limit in the passing lane or getting a flat tire on a busy bridge and immediately pulling over and calling for a tow; or going the wrong way up a one way street and then insisting you are correct and all the other people are wrong; or making a left on a no left turn intersection which is marked that way for a very good reason; and on an on.

I suspect that you could test my theory by looking at the frequency of truck traffic and accidents (as a percentage of truck traffic) under that famous 11' 8" bridge that opens all the trucks like sardine cans. When the economy is poor my guess is that they only have the best drivers available but that in times like 1999 that anyone with a pulse gets a job and it is they who screw up. You would also have to adjust for hours driven that day as during a boom the drivers may also be overworked.

The other reason I distinguish between driving skill and brainpower is that I don't know of a single driving license test that tests(and fails) for wit and common sense.

Americans are driving less since 2004/5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46424053)

AC here, but trends since 2005 show that traffic has actually been decreasing, which predates the recession by years. In fact, the peak was somewhere in 2004-2005.

Many sources, but here is one: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/11/crash-the-decline-of-us-driving-in-6-charts/281528/

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?