It can take a long time to east or west in Toronto
Photo Credit: David Michael Lamb/CBC

Congested traffic costs more than we think


Congested traffic has a broader cost to society.  That’s the finding of a new study by the C. D. Howe Institute. The Toronto think-tank aims to improve the standard of living for Canadians through sound public policy solutions.

The Greater Toronto area is one of the busiest and most densely populated urban centres in Canada. Traffic congestion is a major problem.  One that is changing the way people live.

Benjamin Dachis is a senior policy analyst at the institute, and author of the study, called ‘Cars, Congestion, and Costs:  He maintains the social costs of bumper to bumper traffic are not being factored into the equation.  And this has a negative effect on the way decisions are made about how to spend precious tax dollars.

Currently the assumption about delayed traffic is based on the cost of waiting in traffic, and the calculation is that the wasted time costs approximately C$6 billion dollars a year.  But Benjamin Dachis says this does not take into account the people who don’t even bother getting into the car to head out, as they know traffic will prevent them from arriving at their destination in a timely fashion.

The effect of these decisions is people are not participating in the cultural life of their city; and relationships, both business and personal suffer. Some people may be passing on jobs that better match their skills.  Others are opting out of sharing knowledge face-to-face, and ultimately, the demand for more business, entertainment and cultural opportunities in urban areas, declines.

Benjamin Dachis says the cost is closer to C$11 billion in Greater Toronto Area, and he says more toll roads and facilities will be the solution.   

Categories: Economy, Environment & Animal Life, Society

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