Unbearable traffic congestion has been blamed for babies being delivered in unsanitary circumstances, couples having sex in their car and being arrested for indecent exposure and public nuisance, road rage, and even the death of the seriously ill being transported to hospital emergency rooms by ambulances whose route to hospital was blocked.
JOE CORTRIGHT writes about something called the travel time index which is a fairly accurate metric for the drain on the economy caused by miles of bumper to bumper traffic. A concrete example of this at the individual level would by the money lost by the owner of Custom Construction and Roofing LLC driving the white pickup truck. The photo you see, with Subway Sandwich Shop next to a Car wash completely blocked by a quarter mile long line of cars, is all too common in Roswell,NM these days. The queue of cars pointed west towards Main Street was being held up by South to North traffic on Main Street(US285). Main Street was only single lane this day due to road construction.
How do we solve this all too common impasse played out in all 50 states of the Union? One commonly advanced view is building enough road capacity to eradicate rush-hour congestion and traffic jams. However, this would be close to impossible and cost much more than the dollar value of time lost to congestion in my humble opinion. The emphasis has to be to put more engineering into constructing new roads that are more resistant to being damaged including the freeze thaw cycle that creates pot holes.