June 30, 2019
Traffic congestion in Center City could result in $58 million in lost tax revenue for Philadelphia, according to a new report released by the city.
The report, conducted by Econsult Solutions, examined congestion in the 2.3 square miles between Vine Street and South Street from the Delaware River to Schulykill River, and found that if the city's congestion rates continue to rise the city could hurt its growth potential.
During the weekdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., private vehicles see as much as a 28 percent increase in traffic delays during peak hours, such as rush hour, compared to times of the day when traffic is considered to be "free flowing" or moving most efficiently. Buses, however, saw the greatest delays with a 77 percent increase during peak traffic hours.
This increase, the report concluded, creates a negative feedback loop in which bus passengers experience declining bus service quality. That leads to bus ridership loss and ultimately to more cars on the road — thus leading to further congestion.
If congestion estimates don't change, the report claims that more than 15,700 potential jobs could be lost, along with $1.08 billion in wages. That potential decline in wages would equate to a $58 million in tax revenue lost annually for Philadelphia and the School District of Philadelphia.
The report measured the delay per hour and found private vehicle drivers and passengers see 5.8 million hours of delays per year, as well as 8 million hours in lost time per year. This results in 11 hours of annual delay per weekday passenger.
Meanwhile, buses see an average of 149,000 hours of vehicle delay annually and 1.7 million hours of lost passenger time annually, which equates to 31 hours of annual weekday delay per passenger.
This leads to a total of 9.7 million hours lost per year for car and bus passengers.