Traffic Delays on the Rise in San Diego, Report Finds

San Diegans have spent nearly double the amount of time in traffic than three years ago and have commuted on average several more miles over the same time period, according to a newly released report.

Compounding the problem is the fact that residents are not taking advantage of public transit or bike commuting options.

The findings were released as part of the 2016 Quality of Life report from the Center for Sustainable Energy.

The report found that San Diegans were delayed about 15 hours by traffic last year, compared to 8.8 hours in 2013.

Prior to 2013, the average traffic delays were much higher, peaking in 2007 at about 17 hours, before gradually decreasing.

Stephen Heverly, an analyst with the center, attributes the decline between 2007 to 2013 to the economic recession and the ensuing higher unemployment rates.

Increasing housing prices were forcing residents to buy homes farther from work.

"People are really surprised," Heverly said. "I think generally one of the things San Diegans hate is to be compared to LA in any way shape or form, especially when it comes to driving."

But the report puts it plainly that local residents are driving farther than drivers in all other major counties in the state.

San Diego drivers commute an average of 11 miles on the freeway, compared, for instance, with drivers in LA who commute 9 miles.

The report also found that commuters weren’t taking advantage of alternative transportation options, such as the MTS trolley or bus. About 76 percent of local motorists reported driving to work alone.

Less than 1 percent rode a bike to work and only 2.7 percent used public transportation.

If the problem isn't addressed, Heverly said he only sees it worsening.

"I do think that we're going to get the LA traffic," he said.

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