Report: Traffic projections ‘invalidate the transportation rationale for the CRC’

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
traffic on i-5 -1

Tolls and traffic projections for the CRC project
raise new questions.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Economist Joe Cortright says new traffic projections from a previously undisclosed report reveals an inconvenient truth about the Columbia River Crossing project. The plan to toll the existing I-5 bridge span (starting in 2016) would lead to nearly 50,000 people per day opting to drive over the I-205 bridge instead. As a result, not only would I-205 (and its feeder routes I-84 and SR 14) become jammed during rush hour, but there would be a significant decrease in traffic on I-5 which raises new questions about the wisdom of spending $2.7 billion to significantly expand its capacity.

This analysis is detailed in a new, 12-page report by Cortright’s firm, Impresa Consulting Inc. (PDF). Cortright obtained the underlying data via a public records request from the CRC and the records come from a traffic modeling report performed by CRC contractors CDM Smith.

Here’s more from the summary of Impresa’s report:

Read more

Noted economist says “flawed” metric leads to highway spending, sprawl

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
CRC Rally-128

Economist Joe Cortright.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Joe Cortright, an economist with Impresa Inc. and the senior policy advisor for urban planning think tank CEO for Cities, says engineers and planners have dumped billions of dollars into sprawl-inducing roads and highways in part based on a “deeply flawed metric” that’s been an industry standard for 25 years.

Released today, Cortright’s report, Driven Apart: How Sprawl Is Lengthening Our Commutes and Why Misleading Mobility Measures Are Making Things Worse, takes aim at the Urban Mobility Report (UMR) a metric created by the Texas Transportation Institute 25 years ago. Cortright says the UMR is a flawed tool because it only looks at travel times and does not take into account trip distances.

Read more