Q&A of the Day – How much time South Floridian’s spend in traffic & warming up to Brightline
Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods.
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Today’s entry: I was originally opposed but now that Boca is getting a stop, I think its pretty cool. If we have to have the damn trains going through Boca might as well have a stop.
Bottom Line:Your note about having a change of heart is interesting. I’m wondering if others will feel the same way as new stops are added – especially by the time the Orlando expansion is complete. Five years ago, 2015, South Florida ranked 12th for worst traffic congestion with the average person stuck in traffic for more than two days per year - 52 hours. Again, that was five years ago. Most recently the annual report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found the average South Floridian spends 69 hours in traffic. That’s 33% more time stuck in traffic in just five years. With an estimated 900 new Floridians per day anticipated in 2020, according to the Florida Chamber Foundation – you get the idea. Already significant traffic congestion along with ever-increasing population and tourism suggests something needs to give. It’s this reason above all others that led me to be supportive of Brightline from day one. I don’t have a better solution to ease traffic congestion, and I haven’t heard of any that are viable beyond Brightline.
Brightline has added a lot to its offerings over the past year including fully integrated ride sharing service to arrange for end-to-end transportation for riders. Convenience is critical for the success of Brightline. It seems to be catching on. Brightline saw a 58% increase in passengers year over year to top a million passengers. That’s a million fewer trips in cars on the roads of South Florida. That’s a big deal. Especially with an average commute time exceeding 30 minutes. That’s around 500,000 fewer hours of traffic congestion on our roads as a result of Brightline. With Aventura, Boca and Port Miami receiving stops over the next year – along with greater awareness, there’s a great chance to see significant adaptation.
Something all South Floridians can agree on is the need to do something to address traffic issues. Having a private company attempting to create solutions for our traffic problems is worth supporting in my view. Additionally, I’m a believer that once the Orlando expansion is created, South Florida's economy will be a huge beneficiary of tourists visiting from Orlando who wouldn’t have made the trip otherwise.