traffic

The Alaskan Way Viaduct sends cars streaming past Seattle's waterfront.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Ross Reynolds speaks with Mark Hallenbeck, director of the Washington State Transportation Center at the University of Washington, about whether the $16 billion state transportation package will make your commute better.

The challenge of strategizing the best route to work against the herd of other drivers can be as routine as the daily commute itself. A number of apps are out there to help shortcut one's route and evade traffic jams. But which ones are the most accurate? And how?

The All Tech Considered team put a few competing traffic apps to the test in Robert Siegel's usual short commute from Arlington, Va., to NPR's D.C. headquarters.

The Test Drive

This ride is about 15 minutes in no traffic. But it's now morning rush hour.

At least there's a beautiful sunset to look at when you're stuck in Seattle traffic.
Flickr Photo/HeatherHeatherHeather (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Traffic is getting worse in Seattle. Our rising population is driving it. And even with a multibillion-dollar transportation package, it's not expected to improve.

Which is why we plug our ears when we hear someone like Gil Penalosa, a former parks commissioner from Colombia, say, “I think congestion is good.”

The Alaskan Way Viaduct sends cars streaming past Seattle's waterfront.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Visionaries conceive of a future most of us can’t imagine. And when it comes to transportation in one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., vision is crucial.

Beyond the annoyance factors we all face as we navigate our region, there are serious questions to address. How can we plan for a sustainable transit future? What is the impact of infrastructure spending, or the lack thereof? What national and international best practices can we look to? Will technology help solve our transportation problems? And how does the way we commute affect our health and happiness?

The Access Map by team Hackcessible, a team of University of Washington students, won Seattle's Hack the Commute competition on Wednesday night.
Access Map

A few months ago the City of Seattle launched a search for the next big commuter tool.

The idea was to Hack the Commute – and make a real difference in the lives of people who need to move around our region. Wednesday night they picked a winning project.

File photo of traffic on Seattle's Ship Canal Bridge.
Flickr Photo/Lonnon Foster (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Washington State Department of Transportation's Brian Lagerberg about how companies impact our traffic and how they can help.

traffic, transporation Variable speed signs on northbound Interstate 5 into Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Wendi Dunlap (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Mark Hallenbeck about the implications of reducing speed limits in Seattle. Hallenbeck directs the Washington State Transportation Center at the University of Washington.

At least there's a beautiful sunset to look at when you're stuck in Seattle traffic.
Flickr Photo/HeatherHeatherHeather (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Jim Bak, traffic analyst at INRIX, about Seattle's congestion and how that is impacting our economy.

traffic commute transportation car
Flickr Photo/JBLM (CC-BY-NC-ND)

It should only take half an hour to drive between Everett and Seattle on Interstate 5, which was possible during the holidays.

But it’s back to reality now, and the regular commute can take longer than an hour.

KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

Rainier Avenue, one of two main arterials in Seattle’s southend has a notorious problem with aggressive, speeding drivers.

Flickr Photo/Jory (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

To improve Seattle traffic, what if your child in the backseat no longer gets you into the HOV lane? Good idea? Also: Is Backpage.com liable for sex trafficking through its site? Would expanded gun background checks lead to gun confiscation? And will anyone really give marijuana candy to trick-or-treaters? Really?

Bill Radke’s guests this week: Dan Savage, Rob McKenna and Joni Balter; plus Slate’s Mike Pesca, LiveWire’s Luke Burbank and the NRA’s Catherine Mortensen.

See That Red Lane, Seattle Drivers? Don’t Go There

Oct 22, 2014
An SDOT Crew puts the finishing touches on a bus-only lane on Battery Street in Seattle's Belltown Neighborhood.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Traffic in Seattle is sluggishly slow – you know that already. It’s eating three hours more of your life now than it did two years ago.

That’s why the City of Seattle announced improvements this week to help buses move more efficiently through the city. Advocates say the small improvements add up to faster, more reliable bus service.

On Tuesday, at the corner of 4th and Battery in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood, Seattle Department of Transportation crews stenciled the words “Bus Only” onto a lane of traffic that they have painted entirely in red.

Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

This week, President Obama came to town for a pledge drive of sorts. What's it like to have to fundraise for a living? Two former politicians will tell you.

Plus, this week we learned the mind-blowing news that drivers are supposed to wait for the last minute to cut in line and merge -- according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

KUOW’s Bill Radke reviews those stories and more along with Joni Balter, former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and former Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna. Plus, Luke Burbank drops by and we get an update on the Carlton Complex fires from Paige Browning of Spokane Public Radio.

The Interstate 90 backup early Tuesday morning: one scenario where being polite gets you nowhere.
Courtesy of WSDOT

Seattle area traffic jams are nothing new, but this week has been particularly trying with the construction on westbound I-90 closing all but one lane in Bellevue.

It might seem selfish, but the best way to ease congestion, according to Washington State Department of Transportation's Travis Phelps, is to drive right up to the closure before merging over.

KUOW Photo/Michael Clinard

Some Microsoft employees probably regret not taking that other job offer. Seattle’s city attorney regrets bringing his pot to work. Should a Seattle theater company regret not casting any Asian American actors for its current show? And you'll regret it if you take I-90 westbound into Seattle next week.

What else do you regret? And how would you tell your younger self to avoid regrets?

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