Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nashville tops inglorious list of sprawliest sprawlers

While putting regional sprawl and transportation in an original and important perspective, a new comparative study of sprawl, Driven Apart: How sprawl is lengthening our commutes and why misleading mobility measures are making things worse, is not good news for Nashville:
A new report from CEOs for Cities unveils the real reason Americans spend so much time in traffic and offers a dramatic critique of the 25 year old industry standard created by the Texas Transportation Institute’s Urban Mobility Report (UMR) - often used to justify billions of dollars in expenditures to build new roads and highways. The surprising analysis by Joseph Cortright, senior policy advisor for CEOs for Cities, says the solution to this problem has much more to do with how we build our cities than how we build our roads ....
Driven Apart ranks how long residents in the nation’s largest 51 metropolitan areas spend in peak hour traffic, and in some cases the rankings are almost the opposite of those listed in the 2009 Urban Mobility Report.
For instance, the UMR depicts Chicago as having some of the worst travel delays, when it actually has the shortest time spent in peak hour traffic of any major US metro area. In contrast, Nashville jumped from 31st to first on the list of those with the longest peak travel times.

Did I mention this is not good? Nashville sprawls like it was head-smacked by Cortland Finnegan. It is malaise that local devotion to untrammeled growth minus commitments to thoughtful and inclusive planning brings Nashvillians. We deserve better.


  1. As someone with an 80-mile-per-day commute, this is really interesting to me. I can't afford to move into Nashville, and if I got laid off I doubt I could find a job in my field in Murfreesboro, where I live. So it looks like I'm stuck with this commute for a while.

  2. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that people would rather live in the adjoining low tax counties with better schools, than live in Metro Nashville that features an anti-business big spending Metro Council and some of the worst schools in the nation.
    Nissan didn't move to Cool Springs instead of Downtown just because they wanted to be closer to Whole Foods and the Red Pony.