Philadelphia ranks 2nd in the US with most traffic congestion; SEPTA to invest in $2 billion KOP Rail project

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- In 2020, Philadelphia ranked fifth in the world and second in the U.S. for cities with the most traffic congestion, only behind New York City, according to a Inrix report.

As a result, Philly drivers lost an average of 94 hours to traffic congestion compared to the national average of 26 hours a year.

This issue also impacted drivers directly in their wallets, suffering a financial loss of more than $1,300 on the year in 2020.

With the rise of U.S. gas prices, Philadelphia residents have seen a significant incline at the pump as COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift; and more drivers take the road.

Mike Carroll, Deputy Managing Director for Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability, says despite those numbers, Philadelphia saw a 34% drop from 2019 due to many people working remotely and driving less amid the pandemic.

"What we want to think about is how do we get people to think about taking transit again," said Carroll.

He adds that OTIS Philly is working to implement more strategies that address the root causes of the city's traffic congestion.

OTIS Philly city partner SEPTA aims to invest $40 million from federal COVID relief funds to create the KOP Rail.

SEPTA's $2 billion King of Prussia Rail project would connect commuters to King of Prussia, University City, and Center City.

"We anticipate that the King of Prussia Rail project will reduce travel in the Philadelphia region by about 14 to 18 million vehicle miles per year," said Jody Holton, assistant general manager of planning and strategic initiatives at SEPTA. "A typical commute from Center City to King of Prussia could be up to 1 hour and 30 minutes on the Schuylkill Expressway, but on KOP Rail it would be about 45 minutes."

The project aims to provide transit options every 10 minutes during the week peak and every 20 minutes outside of the typical nine to five commute hours.

This project is just one example of an innovative future planned for Philadelphia and its surrounding areas.

"If we can see how the workday, and maybe in some ways the workweek can shift a little bit so that there is less of this compression in the A.M. and P.M. rush, that actually will have some pretty good benefits for us as a city," said Carroll.
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