Congestion Management

Vehicle traffic nationally and in the Tucson metropolitan area continues to increase since the 2020 pandemic.

In 2020, the Tucson metro area saw the annual delay per commuter fall to 21 hours, down from 50 hours in 2019, according to the 2021 Urban Mobility Report of Texas A&M Transportation Institute. This compares to a 52-hour delay in 2017 and a 40-hour delay in 2000.

The report also indicated that the 2020 congestion cost was $381 million compared to $869 million in 2019 (in 2020 dollars) based on value of delayed time and waisted fuel in all vehicles.

Pima Association of Governments, which is federally required to measure traffic congestion in the Tucson metropolitan area, has programs in place to reduce congestion.

PAG is focused on improving mobility by identifying the causes of, and potential solutions for, recurring and non-recurring traffic delays. Several projects, completed in recent years with funding from the voter-approved Regional Transportation Authority plan or federal or state dollars that come into the region, aim at improving system performance and reliability. They include:

  • building an indirect left turn intersection at North Oracle Road and West Ina Road to improve movement through the intersection and safety.
  • adding transit boarding efficiencies, such as a smart card system, smartphone app for pre-purchasing fares, and front and rear boardings for Sun Link to keep transit moving during peak hours.
  • adjusting corridor signals to reduce intersection delays.
  • adding nearly 100 bus pullouts to reduce corridor congestion.

PAG uses a congestion management tool to not only help identify deficiencies in the regional transportation system and measure congestion but to develop and select appropriate strategies to reduce it across the region. These strategies are analyzed and considered for inclusion in PAG’s long-range transportation plan, the Regional Mobility and Accessibility Plan (RMAP), and five-year transportation improvement program, or TIP.

The 2045 RMAP goals and performance measures are set to cost effectively reduce congestion on roadways across the transportation network. As long-range projects move into the short-range TIP, PAG uses the congestion management tool to help its members, including local governments, to adopt appropriate congestion management strategies when planning and designing projects based on projected system performance.

Congestion management projects and strategies include:

  • Develop regional goals to reduce vehicle miles traveled during peak commuting hours and improve transportation connections between areas with high job concentration and areas with high concentrations of low-income households.
  • Identify existing public transportation services, employer-based commuter programs, and other existing transportation services that support access to jobs in the region.
  • Identify proposed projects and programs to reduce congestion and increase job access opportunities.
  • Consult with employers, private and nonprofit providers of public transportation, transportation management organizations, and organizations that provide job access reverse commute projects or job-related services to low-income individuals.