How Many Vehicles Can Colorado Handle?

Colorado is home to two of the top ten places to live in the USA, according to a report from CNBC, so it’s not surprising that the Colorado population has increased by almost 15% in the last ten years, adding over 700,000 new residents in that short time. Unfortunately, the roads of Colorado were not designed to support a population boom – and residents are feeling the effects on the streets, especially during rush hour.

Colorado Rush Hour Statistics

How Many Vehicles Can Colorado HandleIn Denver alone, drivers waste an estimated 83 hours per year in traffic, with an added cost of $1,152 per driver, according to a recent Global Traffic Scorecard from INRIX. Denver’s traffic is rated as the 19th worst in the USA, and it’s no surprise that residents are increasingly looking to expand the roadways and improve public transportation systems across the state.

According to the Denver Regional Council of Governments, the average daily vehicle miles traveled has been consistently increasing over the last eight years and doesn’t show signs of stopping. The good news, however, is that the vehicle miles traveled per person have been reducing over the same time period – indicating that many people are choosing to use rideshare services or public transport to avoid congestion.

The Dangers of Traffic Congestion

Traffic congestion creates several problems for any metropolitan area, including:

  • Increased toxic fumes: Despite the increase in the popularity of electric vehicles, there are still millions of gas vehicles on the road. As the air quality decreases, especially as vehicles idle in traffic, the toxic fumes emitted by cars become increasingly concentrated and poisonous. The last thing we need is to create a “smog” (smoke and fog) layer in our beautiful state.
  • Frustration: Driving in traffic is, without question, frustrating. You have places to go and things to do, and at the very bottom of your list is sitting in traffic.
  • Wasted time: Denver residents currently waste an estimated 83 hours per year in traffic, but without a significant change, we could see 30, 40, or even 50 hours per year added to this number over the next five to ten years.
  • Fatigue and emotion: Being stuck in traffic is exhausting, especially after a full day of work. Being stuck in traffic has been shown to increase anger, frustration, stress, anxiety, and countless other negative emotions and mental states – sometimes even worsening problems in the workplace and at home.
  • Increased risk of accidents: Drivers stuck in traffic, especially when they’re running late, can quickly become aggressive, or even worse – start using their phone and stop paying attention to the road. Rush hours have a significantly higher rate of accidents than the rest of the day. If you’ve been a victim in a rush-hour accident, call our Colorado auto accident attorneys at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., to get help right away.

Solutions For the Future

Something must be done about the increasing traffic on our roads. We aren’t going to stop people from moving here, so other solutions must be employed to reduce congestion on our streets. Some ideas that you can do to help include:

  • Avoid rush hour traffic entirely by changing your schedule or working from home
  • Use public transport
  • Use rideshare services
  • If there’s no way to avoid driving in rush hour, do things that keep you calm and occupied. Podcasts, good music, and others keep you entertained while allowing your eyes and attention to remain focused on the road.

The ultimate solution may lie in either enhanced public transport systems or expanded roadways, but in either case, everyone should push their local governments to pay more attention to transportation and forward programs that make it better.