More state drivers saw red in 2011 than in 2009

Washingtonians spent 16 percent more time looking at brake lights in 2011 than they did in 2009 as congestion and traffic delay increased on state highways. Despite the slowdowns, the Washington State Department of Transportation’s 2012 Congestion Report notes that traffic increased by 3 percent from 2010 to 2011.

Data for the past five years shows that 2009 had the least congestion, and since then, congestion has increased as the economy slowly improves and more people return to work. Meanwhile, congestion in 2011 was still below pre-recession levels.

WSDOT released its annual Congestion Report late last month, providing an in-depth analysis of 52 central Puget Sound and two Spokane-area commute routes along with information on how transportation systems are performing statewide.

Highlights include:

• Washingtonians drove 50 fewer miles in 2011 than in 2009, and 88 fewer miles than in 2010.

• High occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes carried more people in 2011 compared to 2010.

• WSDOT’s Incident Response program cleared 44,492 incidents.

To find out more, go to


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