A growing population and thriving economy often produce as a by-product increased traffic congestion. If current growth trends continue, we can expect that the extent and duration of congestion will increase in more communities. States and metropolitan regions must have the resources and flexibility to consider, implement and manage a portfolio of cost-effective investment strategies to deliver enhanced system performance, reliability, and redundancy to keep congestion from severely reducing communities' quality of life. The objective of this research was to develop a succinct review of current knowledge and thinking about the relationship among transportation congestion, economic activity, economic growth, and transportation system investment at regional and national levels, and about strategies for reducing congestion that can be posed as models for wide adoption in metropolitan areas.
The research team reviewed and synthesized recent policy research on congestion and its relation to economic activity, economic growth, and transportation system investment at regional and national levels, giving particular attention to how congestion and economic activity may be influenced by government policies operating within metropolitan areas. The team then reviewed congestion mitigation strategies that have been applied in metropolitan regions and evaluated their effectiveness in reducing congestion without compromising economic vitality and growth. Several case studies of effective congestion management practices were documented from metropolitan areas that have successfully taken holistic approaches to congestion management, showing how MPOs and state DOTs have addressed institutional and funding issues in implementing congestion management strategies.