NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Increasing Mobility in Southeast Florida

March 29, 2012

Between 2015 and 2035, Southeast Florida transportation agencies plan to spend $58 billion on improving the region's roadways and transit.  Yet, even with all of that spending, regional planners project that rush hour speeds will be 20 percent slower than they are today and the region's traffic congestion will increase to levels worse than the gridlock experienced in today's Los Angeles, the nation's most congested area, says a new Reason Foundation study.

Based on 18 months of research, and carried out with the cooperation of Southeast Florida's transportation agencies, the Reason Foundation study includes four primary components:

  • Build a region-wide network (302 route-miles and 1,117 lane-miles) of managed lanes similar to those on I-95 in Miami.
  • Upgrade 14 key arterials (107 route-miles) to include optional tolled underpasses allowing cars and buses to bypass signalized intersections, an innovation the report calls "managed arterials."
  • Replace the current long-term plan's proposed bus-only lanes with express toll lanes that would serve as "virtually exclusive busways" offering high-quality express bus service, while also generating transportation revenue from motorists choosing to use them, and carrying significantly more vehicles and passengers than bus-only lanes.
  • Make a series of operational improvements to the road system, including extensive expressway ramp metering and further expansion of traffic signal coordination.

When Reason's proposed network was modeled using the Florida Department of Transportation's regional planning model, congestion in 2035 was projected to be 13 percent less than with the current long-range plan.  The value of time and fuel savings from the reduced congestion would be $1.35 billion per year.  And because economists have demonstrated a strong link between less congestion and increased economic growth, the report forecasts Southeast Florida's economy would be an estimated $3.5 billion a year larger.

Source: "Study Proposes Major Improvements for Southeast Florida Transportation Plan," Reason Foundation, March 27, 2012.  Robert Poole, Thomas A. Rubin and Chris Swenson, "Increasing Mobility in Southeast Florida," Reason Foundation, March 27, 2012.

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