We're coughing up billions over traffic congestion
The Canadian Press
TORONTO (Mar 23, 2006)
Worsening urban congestion
is costing Canadians billions of dollars a year -- mainly in wasted
time, according to a new Transport Canada study.
And that cost is expected
to compound with a growing population, more cars on the road, and
the urbanization of towns.
The study -- which
included Hamilton -- is the first national analysis of congestion
and estimates the cost of bad traffic in Canada's nine biggest cities
at between $2.3 billion and $3.7 billion a year.
More than 90 per cent
of the waste is the value of time lost in traffic, 7 per cent is
the cost of fuel consumption, and 3 per cent is associated with increased
greenhouse gas emissions.
"The results show
how costly congestion is, but they also show just how much more we
need to do to understand it," said Transport Minister Lawrence
"And let's be
honest, we all contribute to this problem," he said.
"We drive to the
video store when we could walk. We drive to work when we could take
public transit. We even drive to the gym when we know we should bike.
So we all need to be part of the solution."
Not only does heavy
traffic waste time, congestion on the roads is especially damaging
to the environment and adds to gas bills because a vehicle travelling
at 20 km/h operates less efficiently and spews more pollution than
when it is moving at 60 km/h, the report states.
And as expensive as
today's driving conditions are, they are likely to get worse.
With the national population
expected to rise by .75 per cent annually until 2020, car ownership
growing at a greater rate, and urbanization changing the landscape
of the country, congestion is projected to get increasingly heavy.
doesn't necessarily mean a need for more roads, said Cannon. But
it does point to the key role of public transit, he added, noting
that his department has already committed $1.5 billion to transit
improvements in the GTA.