Congestion and Commotion
According to an article written in the Honolulu Advertiser, the number of cars, trucks, SUVs and motorcycles registered in Hawaii, which averaged about 1.13 million in the year 2006, is creeping closer to equaling the state’s total population of 1.28 million. That article was published a little less than ten years and since then, traffic is still a constant struggle that many people in Hawaii deal with on a daily basis. From sunrise to sunset, there is traffic in all parts of this beautiful but small state. Do you think this state was meant to hold that many people or vehicles? The combination of a high population of people and vehicles as well as a lack of roads and lanes in Hawaii plays a drastic role in the traffic congestion. In this essay, I will be talking about how Hawaii’s traffic compares to major traffic congestion locations around the United States, how the population has vastly increased over the years in Hawaii, how the motor vehicle population has also increased over the years and possible solutions as to how to fix the traffic congestion problem in Hawaii.
It’s very clear to everyone that Hawaii is not a very big state. According to the world atlas, the state of Hawaii is approximately 10,931 square miles. That may seem like a lot of space but if you compare that to California, which is approximately 158,648 square miles; you can see that it is exponentially smaller. According to the INRIX Traffic Scorecard, Honolulu is the worst city in the country for traffic with drivers wasting 58 hours last year sitting in congestion, with Los Angeles following close behind. Although California and Hawaii has some of the worst traffic in the United States, California is vastly bigger than Hawaii, which means they have the option of building more roads to balance out the traffic congestion. Meanwhile in Hawaii, the island can’t get any bigger because we’re surrounded by water. That is a major contributor as to why there aren’t enough roads in the state of Hawaii.
A major cause of traffic congestion in Hawaii is an increase in the population of people. According to the United States Census Bureau, the population of Hawaii was approximately 1.404 million in 2013. Over the past 20 years, the population of Honolulu has increased by 34%. Another major cause of traffic congestion in Hawaii is the increase of motor vehicles. Because the population continues to increase, the number of motor vehicles does so as well. In Hawaii, the total number of motor vehicles has increased by 134 %. According to the Hawaii Data Book, about 20,000 motor vehicles are added to Hawaii’s roads each year. There are too many drivers driving on the road at one time that traffic is bound to happen.
There is a clear lack of roads in the streets of Hawaii. A possible solution that can be done to relieve the traffic congestion in Hawaii is to build more roads. We need to build more roads and expand many existing ones. In other words, the number of drivers that are trying to use the same roads are so high that it goes above and beyond the road’s capacity to handle that amount of cars. There are too many cars in one places and that is a big reason as to why there is so much traffic here in Hawaii.
The state of Hawaii has tried to find quick solutions to fix the traffic congestion problem by various means, including the expansion of certain lanes, creating HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes, which are lanes designed specifically for vehicles with a driver and one or more passengers, widening existing roads and improving the public transportation services such as TheBus system. Although some of these solutions were a temporary relief, the root of the traffic congestion has not been tackled and the people still need a more permanent solution.
Traffic has been such a constant struggle for so long and because Hawaii’s population of people and motor vehicles will continue to increase over the years, Hawaii politicians finally decided to create an efficient and effective mass transit system to transport people all around the island thus reducing overall traffic congestion. Over the years, there has been much hearsay as to finding a more permanent solution to solve the traffic issue in Hawaii. Most people argue and debate that Hawaii, and especially Oahu, needs a better mass transit system so that traffic congestion will no longer be a major problem in Hawaii. According to the Honolulu Rail Transit website, plans for a mass transit system that connected Honolulu to outlying areas began in 1960 and in 2005, funding was finally approved and the project to build a new rail system was officially underway. The rail system will ultimately eliminate an estimated 40,000+ motor vehicles from our congested streets and highways every weekday by the year 2030.
So in conclusion, the combination of a high population of people and motor vehicles as well as the lack of roads in Hawaii plays a drastic role in the traffic congestion. In this essay, I have talked about how Hawaii’s traffic compares to major traffic congestion locations around the United States, how the population has vastly increased over the years in Hawaii, how the motor vehicle population has also increased over the years and possible solutions as to how to fix the traffic congestion problem in Hawaii.