The average delay due to road traffic congestion for travelers in Honolulu is 24 hours per year. This is a large number of wasted hours but it pales in comparison to Los Angeles metropolitan area where the annual loss per traveler is 72 hours. Atlanta, San Francisco and Washington DC tie at 60 hours per year.
These statistics were just released by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, a unit of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The full report can be found here: http://www.bts.gov/publications/transportation_statistics_annual_report/2008/pdf/entire.pdf
Honolulu's traffic delay peers are Omaha, NE, Sarasota and Pensacola, FL, El Paso, TX, Grand Rapids, MI, and Cape Coral, FL none of which have any form or rail.
Metropolitan areas are classified as very large, large, medium and small. Honolulu is classified as a medium metropolitan area and has 30 peers. Even among its peers, Honolulu ranks lower in delay having 24 hours of annual delay per traveler whereas the average for 30 medium areas was 28 in 2005. See table below.
Very few cities in this group have any form of rail. For example Charlotte has a small new at grade light rail system and its congestion level at 45 hours per year is nearly twice that of Honolulu's. Charlotte's light rail cost was in the order of one billion dollars for a population of over three million people and Honolulu's light rail cost is in the order of five billion dollars for 900,000 (and dropping) population.
These numbers provide a strong indication that on a national priority list for funding "new starts" rail systems, Honolulu's proposal should receive a very low priority for federal funding.
|Average Hours of Annual Delay per Traveler|
|Medium Urban Area||1982||1995||2004||2005|
|El Paso, TX-NM||3||10||22||24|
|Grand Rapids, MI||6||19||24||24|
|New Haven, CT||5||13||18||19|
|Salt Lake City, UT||8||32||29||27|
|Medium Area Average||9||21||27||28|