D.C. Has the Country's Worst Traffic, But is That Such a Bad Thing?

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) is out with its annual Urban Mobility Report. You'll probably hear a lot in the next day about how awful your city's traffic is. But you likely won't hear much about why that might not be so bad.
February 5, 2013, 2pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"The 2012 version of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute congestion report is out, and the news is basically that as the economy recovers from the great recession, traffic jams are getting worse again," reports Matthew Yglesias. "The most congested metropolitan area in the United States is Washington D.C., followed by Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Boston."

"The striking thing about these cities is that despite serious congestion problems, they're all big, exciting, prosperous, dynamic cities," says Yglesias. "Or rather, they have a lot of traffic congestion in part because they're big exciting prosperous dynamic cities."

So D.C., before you bemoan (or celebrate?) your number 1 ranking consider the alternative: you could have the light traffic of a city like Bakersfield, but you could also have the economy that goes with it.

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Published on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 in Slate
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