It’s probably crossed your mind while grinding through another commute into downtown, or in one of those horizon-bending backups on Routes 128 or 3: Boston must have the worst rush-hour traffic in the country. Now you can back that up with numbers.
Gridlock during the peak of the morning and evening commutes was worse in Boston in 2018 than in any other major metropolitan area, even Los Angeles with its infamous traffic, according to a report from Inrix, a transportation data firm that publishes annual rankings of congestion around the world.
As we’ve been harping on since the inception of this site: This is the result of a generation of disinvestment and austerity funding for mass transit, with horrific consequences for both our quality of life and the planet’s climate. You can absolutely place the blame square on your legislature, including and especially (but not only) Speaker DeLeo and Governor Baker, who continue the austerity culture. Your elected officials made the choice to starve the T, keeping you breathing fumes in life- , career-, family-, soul-, and planet-killing traffic. What. A. Waste.
The Globe will tell you that the Gov is doing his level best, reforming without revenue. With the T literally crumbling around us, that belies observable evidence.
I will say, with a hint of smugness, that since I started primarily bike-commuting, my commute has become only faster — if not safer.
We have the policy tools to mitigate this, almost immediately. As Transport for Massachusetts advocates, we could have some simple congestion pricing schemes, like “smart tolling” effectively giving preference to buses, which carry many more people in a small area than single-occupancy cars.
And of course, if the T were reliable and the commuter rail were on time, that would be a lot of folks preferring to take transit and get out of their cars. With proper funding over the last generation, we never would have gotten to this point. But in spite of all warnings, our legislators decided neither to properly reform nor fund the T. We could have made different choices. And here we are.