Traffic Congestion:

The Need and Opportunity for Federal Involvement

T-PEMD-91-10: Published: May 29, 1991. Publicly Released: May 29, 1991.

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GAO discussed the federal approach to improving surface transportation mobility. GAO found that: (1) growth in traffic congestion represented a growing threat to efficient commercial, commuter, and leisure travel; (2) congestion resulted in the waste of over 2 billion gallons of fuel each year; (3) future growth estimates suggested congestion increases of at least 400 percent by 2005; (4) intelligent vehicle highway systems (IVHS) may be effective in improving mobility, safety, air quality, and energy conservation goals, but need further testing; (5) cost, institutional, and technological barriers need to be overcome to ensure full realization of IVHS benefits; (6) low cost, low-technology approaches to congestion reduction, such as carpooling or the quick clearing of accidents, need to be considered; and (7) pending highway legislation should include congestion monitoring and planning requirements, an aggressive IVHS testing program, and incentives for implementing low-cost transportation system management techniques.

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