Traffic analysts are watching freeway activity grow inversely in sync with Washington’s state unemployment rate, according to a report this week.
More drivers took to local roadways in 2016 as the measure of joblessness passed pre-recession levels.
Between 2014 and 2016, commuters in urban areas throughout Washington saw increases in congestion and delay, due largely to the effects of drivers traveling more miles on already-crowded urban highways.
The number of miles that drivers traveled on state highways increased 6.4 percent from 2014 to 2016 (to a new high of 34.227 billion), according to the State Department of Transportation’s 2017 Multimodal Corridor Capacity Report.
In addition, 3.2 percent more passenger vehicles registered in 2016 than in 2014. During the same period, the number of licensed drivers increased by 4.3 percent. All these factors combined to add more drivers to Washington state’s already busy roadways.
To learn more about WSDOT’s performance or to review the 2017 Corridor Capacity Report, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Accountability/.