The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has unveiled the initial results of a new methodology to measure the costs of traffic congestion and improve understanding of how poor traffic mobility affects the economy and productivity of cities in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Pilot applications of the new methodology, coordinated by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, were carried out in three different types of cities – the capital city of Santiago de Chile, the megacity of São Paulo in Brasil and the Colombian port city of Barranquilla.
Trancones (Traffic Jams) greatly increase the time required to transport merchandise in some cities: by 342% in São Paulo, Brasil, 225% in Barranquilla, Colombia and 140% in Santiago, Chile.
The preliminary analysis of the data gathered, based on three delivery routes for merchandise, indicates that excessive congestion and delays in the delivery of cargo increase operational costs in a substantial way and undercut the region’s competitiveness. The additional time spent on deliveries caused by traffic congestion greatly increases in some cities: by 342 percent in São Paulo, 225 percent in Barranquilla and 140 percent in Santiago.
The pilot applications were the first phase of the new methodology, promoted by the IDB’s Transportation Division to measure the time and estimate the cost that traffic congestion adds to the transportation of merchandise in cities. The methodology will allow the design of solutions, adapted to individual cases, to reduce the economic impact of vehicular crowding.
About 60 to 70 percent of the Gross Domestic Product of countries in the region is generated in urban centers. The bottlenecks and delays generated by traffic congestion are significant because of the importance of cities in the supply chains and last-leg distribution of consumer goods.
The results of the pilot applications were unveiled at the IDB headquarters in Washington D.C. to an audience that included representatives of the private and academic sectors from Barranquilla, Bogota and Cali in Colombia, Panama City, Lima in Peru, Mexico City, San Jose in Costa Rica, Santiago de Chile and São Paulo in Brasil.