Choice involves weighing our options. Some of the factors that enter into our decisions include time of day, where we are going, convenience, overall cost, safety, comfort, and fear of the unknown. Sometimes, we choose to sit in traffic because we aren’t clear on how or when to meet the bus/train. Or perhaps we don’t know exactly what happens when we get there. Regardless of our reasons, over 83 percent of Broward’s residents tell us they drive all or most of the time. Only 13 percent say they have plenty of options other than driving.
Choosing Human Power
More people are choosing to walk and bike. Young professionals are choosing to live close to where they work in more walkable communities. Older residents also enjoy a lifestyle that provides more walkable and accessible communities. This upward trend in market demand for more walkable places with bicycle access lanes and accommodations is prompting action. The development community is responding by building more homes that meet this demand. The Broward MPO is implementing a number of Complete Streets projects under the 2012 adopted policies.
Roughly 40% of Broward’s population is transportation disadvantaged in one way or another, meaning they are disabled, elderly, don’t have a car, or do not live near a bus route. For many of our residents, transit is not a choice, it is their only option. Around 40 million people a year use public transportation in Broward, roughly 4% of our workforce and 2% of the total population. If our goal is to get more people off our congested roadways by getting them out of their cars and into transit, we have our work cut out for us. The good news is that transit ridership has been increasing for the past few years, especially for community bus and express bus service. The bad news is that the ridership increases are starting to level off. More funding is needed to meet the demand for transit service by purchasing more buses and adding new service. Traffic congestion delays buses too. Improvements at intersections are needed to improve travel time and reliability of bus service to make it a more attractive alternative.
Let’s face it, people in Broward like their cars. Tolled facilities such as Florida’s Turnpike and the Sawgrass Expressway have been operating for some time in Broward. Our region is also working to improve the carrying capacity of existing interstate highways with the addition of congestion management lanes where people choose to pay more to travel on less congested lanes in the same corridor. Reversible managed lanes on I-595 have opened business, and the extension of 95 Express lanes from downtown Miami to Broward Boulevard are coming soon. Paying more to travel on variably priced congestion management lanes has become a popular way to get where we are going faster and with more reliability. The addition of congestion managed lanes also reduces traffic congestion on the “free” lanes since fewer vehicles are using those lanes.
Choosing When We Go
We have all had the experience of leaving a little later on our morning or afternoon commute to find it takes us quite a bit longer to get there because there is more traffic at a different time. Not everyone has a choice of when they go to work or make their appointments, but those who do have flexibility can avoid congestion by traveling during those less trafficked times of day. Some employers allow their workforce the option of working from home all or part of their work week. Others allow employees to work “flex” hours where they work longer hours during the week and have a longer weekend, eliminating some of their travel. Choosing what time of day you travel or whether you travel can make a big difference in your travel experience and time spent en route.
For More Information
Please contact Christopher Ryan at (954) 876-0036 or email@example.com to learn more about the Broward MPO and what they are working on in your community.