Transportation's Impact on Our Freedom
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
January 15, 2004
If there were eleven Articles in the Bill of Rights, perhaps the right to transportation would be a good candidate. How critical is it to our well-being that we are able to go from point A to point B without delay or hassle? Would this issue merit inclusion in one of the most incredibly inspired documents in the history of man?
Last week I wrote about a challenge arising due to growth along Highway 181 South, specifically the locating of a new sewer plant. This is an important issue. An important issue I noticed on my way to the meeting is the issue of transportation, especially when it has the potential to not only endanger our lives, but to strip the equivalent of one to two weeks from one's life annually, in order to travel to work and back.
However, last week County Judge Nelson Wolff in his "State of the County" message, highlighted some of the more serious current transportation issues in Bexar County.
Facts and Figures
- The number of vehicles in the United States is increasing twice as fast as the population growth.
- In the United States, three-quarters of all trips made to and from work are in single-passenger vehicles.
- Since 1982, the U.S. population has grown 20 percent, but the time spent by commuters in traffic has grown 236 percent.
- Last year, commuters in the United States spent $60 billion in gasoline travelling to and from work—more than double the annual revenues of Microsoft Corporation.
- A typical household spends nearly 20 percent of its income in driving costs—more than it spends on food.
- Nine billion gallons of fuel are wasted in traffic congestion each year—800 times the amount of oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez.
- A typical commuter who switches from driving alone to using Best Workplaces for CommutersSM benefits for transit, walking, cycling, or telecommuting saves over $800 per year in transportation expenses including fuel, taxes, and vehicle maintenance.
Commuter Benefits Mean Savings for Employers
- By offering commuter benefits, a company with 1,000 employees can lower its annual parking expenses by more than $70,000 and save participating employees $13,000 each year in taxes and $160,000 each year in gasoline, parking, and vehicle costs. Calculate your company's savings.
Commuter Benefits Improve Employee Quality of Life
- Eight of 10 U.S. workers believe commuter benefits are valuable to employees.
- With commuter benefits, a typical employee can avoid driving 3,300 miles each year, which is greater than the distance between New York and Los Angeles.
- Average commuters in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Seattle spend more than an entire work-week every year delayed in traffic.
Commuter Benefits Improve Traffic Flow and the Environment
- On average, an employer with 1,000 employees that joins Best Workplaces for Commuters can take credit for taking 175 cars off the road, saving 44,000 gallons of gasoline per year, and cutting global warming pollution by 420 tons per year.
- The American Lung Association reports that even low levels of ground-level ozone, which is produced by automotive tailpipe emissions and is a component of smog, adversely affect nearly one-third of our population.
- If half of all U.S. commuters worked for Best Workplaces for Commuters, air pollution and traffic would be cut by the equivalent of taking 15 million cars off the road every year.
Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Commuter Model, Texas Transportation Institute, American Lung Association, Xylo Inc., and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.