Louisiana is no different than any other state when it comes to commuting; some cities are relatively easy to drive through while others leave drivers dreading the morning commute. Naturally, larger cities are more likely to have traffic congestion from time to time. However, the amount of congestion relies heavily on which public-facing tools are available to help users plan their commutes or at least make it safer. Throughout the U.S. there are several cities of the same size, population, and with similar infrastructures, but one may receive high marks for commuting safety while another may get the lowest rankings possible. No commute is perfect and each city could learn a few things from another to help make the morning drive a little more tolerable and a lot safer.
A Tale of Two Cities: Shreveport and Baton Rouge
Shreveport and Baton Rouge are two of Louisiana’s largest cities; one has “worse commuter travel than national average.” Visitors and residents, alike, are known to complain often (and loudly) about the long commute in the capital city, Baton Rouge. The national average time for commute is 25.8 minutes and Baton Rouge averages 26.9 minutes. Shreveport, the similarly sized city a few hours north, averaged at about 21 minutes which was the shortest trip of the 195 Louisiana metropolitan areas surveyed.
So, why are two big cities, similar in size and population, vastly different when it comes to commuting? Alternate transportation options and failure to carpool may be to blame. Approximately 85% of Baton Rouge area commuters are lone drivers, not carpoolers. Shockingly, only about 1% of commuters use public transit to get to work. While public transit is available in Baton Rouge, there isn’t as much push to use it as in Shreveport.
Taking a Tip from Shreveport
There’s a big push to use mass transit in Shreveport. SporTran, as featured on the City of Shreveport’s website, is Shreveport’s main public transportation, a successful bus line. Riders can check where their bus is in “real time” and can also get updates via e-mail or text. In a modern age of technology, it’s a smart move and a sure way to stay connected with an ever growing population of individuals who are open to using public transit. Not only does public transportation take the stress out of commuting, but even with scheduled stops, Shreveport commuters will get to where they need to go much faster. Additionally, mass transit is the ultimate carpool.
When you view the City of Baton Rouge’s official website, there is no information linking to public transportation. In fact, the only links related to traffic revolves around incident reports and which routes to avoid. While easy access to accident reports and road closures are helpful to a harried commuter, it only enhances the nightmare of commuting through Baton Rouge rather than encouraging other forms of transportation or how to decrease traffic congestion.
If Baton Rouge doesn’t take relatively simple steps to changing the attitudes of commuters who refuse to travel with others, the morning commute will get worse making gridlock even more unbearable, keeping the capital city as the worst place for commuter travel.