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Three Hours to Take a 30 Minute Trip on D.C. Roads?

New report ranks D.C. as No. 1 on its "Planning Time Index."

 

Planning to attend an important event at 7 p.m. in the District? You'd better leave at 4 p.m., according to a report released by Texas A&M's Transportation Institute.

While many people know that the Washington, DC, area ranks at or near the top of the list for traffic congestion, a new Urban Mobility Report paints an even more dire portrait of the challenges of getting around in the nation's capital.

Researchers from Texas A&M have devised a method to determine the amount of extra time needed to arrive on time for "higher priority events" such as social commitments, flight departures, medical appointments and more.

The Planning Time Index (PTI) takes into account an area's traffic congestion, and quantifies the increasing unpredictability of vehicle travel as it related to prompt arrival times, giving each city a multiplier.

Washington, DC's PTI multiplier is 5.72, meaning that a trip that should take 30 minutes in light traffic will require almost three hours of extra time to ensure an on-time arrival.

NPR estimated the additional time for the remainder of the top five cities:

  1. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA (2.5 hours)
  2. New York City-New Jersey-Connecticut (2.2 hours)
  3. Boston-New Hampshire-Rhode Island (2.1 hours)
  4. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX (2 hours)

Pensacola, FL, enjoys the lowest PTI at 1.31, adding about 9 minutes to that same 30-minute trip.

Read the full report here.

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