I was talking to a friend the other day as we were stuck in a ridiculous Wednesday 8pm traffic jam, and she said traffic in LA supposed to become twice as bad in the next five years.
The only response I could think of: "How!?"
Don't get me wrong - we absolutely can see how traffic will keep getting worse as LA continues to sprawl. More people keep moving here, they keep buying more cars, and the increased smog restrictions resulting in decreased yellow smog haze is fooling us into thinking this is somehow all OK. But again, the question remains "How? How could traffic possibly get twice as bad?"
Considering that it's no longer possible to exceed 10 miles per hour on the freeway from 6am-9am and 2:30pm-7pm Monday through Thursday, or ever on Fridays and Saturdays, and even going somewhere at 2am only gives you a 90% chance of not hitting a ridiculous traffic jam, I'm not sure how "twice as bad" is possible. Even there were a traffic jam on every road in LA, 24 hours a day, I'm pretty sure this would only be like 1.6 times as bad as it is now.
Let me consider the issue statistically. By my calculations, there are currently 86 hours in the week during which the 405 is undrivable - 14 hours per day Monday-Thursday, and all day long Friday and Saturday. There are only 168 hours in a week. Even if every single one of these hours was filled with cars, that would still only 86/82, or 95.43 percent worse. Statistically, there's just no way for traffic to get twice as badů unless we find a way of freezing time and still having it be rush-hour.
Or maybe traffic will actually move backwards. Maybe that's what those shrewd thinkers at the top of LA's transit system have in mind.