Traffic Congestion in the Bay Area has been Getting Steadily Worse for 35 years: It’s time for a New Approach

A BATWG Report
November 27, 2013 (updated 10/06/15)

As anyone who drives in the Bay Area knows well, the traffic congestion in our region is bad and getting worse. Compounding the situation is the fact that the per capita use of trains and buses is dropping. Ever wondered why this is?

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) has been in existence since 1971. Charged with “planning, coordinating and financing” transportation in the Bay Area, MTC has received and distributed tens of billions in State and federal transportation dollars. A large part of this huge inflow of funds has gone to highway expansions and large locally-initiated public transit projects favored and actively promoted by MTC. Yet the situation continues to get worse as drivers, bus riders and businesses are increasingly impeded by worsening gridlock.

Although not solely responsible for these problems MTC, through its policies, priorities and capital funding decisions, has failed to either strengthen public transit operations or ease congestion.

So the question becomes: Is there anything that can be done to reverse these destructive trends? We think so. The greater San Francisco Bay Area has a choice. It can continue to acquiesce to the current scatter-shot and generally ineffective way of allocating transportation funds, thereby perpetuating today’s destructive regional transportation trends. Or it can take steps to ensure that today’s over-reliance on the private automobile is replaced with a healthier mix of automobiles, pedestrians, trains, buses, boats and bicycles, coupled with the gradual implementation of a well thought-out and thoroughly-vetted regional land use plan. Read the full report.