Miami Has the Nation's Most Efficient Roads, Says Scientist Who's Never Driven the Palmetto

Categories: Road Rage
traffic.jpg
A lot of words leap to mind when you think of Miami's roadways. Terrifying. Useless. Mad Max-ian. Unless you've been pounding mescaline all morning, one term that likely hasn't popped up is efficient. But a new piece by an urban planner in Washington reveals that by one measure, Miami has the most efficient set of roads in the nation.

Riptide would like to extend an open invitation to this scientist to attempt to drive from the westbound Dolphin onto the northbound Palmetto without rage-punching his steering wheel.

Chris Dickersin-Prokopp, an urban planner based in Washington, D.C., decided to measure the roadways of America's 12 largest metro areas by an unusual metric: the number of miles of pavement per capita.

His idea is that because roads are an expensive, pollution-encouraging means of shuttling people and goods around, the more people-per-roadway the better for a mass urban area. Here's his argument, as laid out in Greater Greater Washington:
Roads cost money to build and maintain. Movement along those roads creates pollution and costs the users time. All else equal, it is more efficient to build, use, and maintain fewer roads per person.
Guess what? By that measure, Miami is tops in the country. With a metro area of 5.5 million and just 1,462 miles of roadway, Dade County has 3,807 people per road mile. That beats the next closest urban area, New York City, by more than 1,000 people per road mile. (By this measure, Atlanta came in last.)

Dickersin-Prokopp also put together a handy graphic showing Miami's lack of urban sprawl compared with most of the other metro areas:

screencap via Greater Greater Washington
All true, but the project misses some key context. For one thing, the reason Miami has so much less sprawl has nothing to do with great urban planning and everything to do with being pinned between an ocean and a protected wetland.

Second, though the idea of packing more people per road mile is great in terms of urban efficiency, the lack of a great public transit system simply leads to thousands more people trying to use an overburdened, underdeveloped road system every day.

That's why driving from South Beach to Hialeah during rush hour is only slightly less unnerving than a hike sans sherpa up Everest and takes roughly the same amount of time.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
22 comments
FWACATA
FWACATA

Manda ese comemierda para Hialeah, y el unico "efficiency" que encuentra es  atras de Tio Pulpo's casa por Palm Avenue. 

Gregory Lee
Gregory Lee

Really? I'm afraid to think of what roads the other cities have...

Lelia Caitlín Musso
Lelia Caitlín Musso

compared w/ boston the roads r amazing but lmfao @ miami having the most efficient roads nationwide

Joao De Nacimiento
Joao De Nacimiento

Our city was built on a grid. Easy to find your way, except when you get to Hialeah! haha.

syrgrad91
syrgrad91

Having driven in other cities, Miami is actually well laid out with lots of cross-town freeways and streets properly numbered. Yes, there are a lot of cars out on the road and the freeways do get backed up during rush hour, but when traffic is flowing, it's not a bad place to drive. Also, I agree, a big problem is with aggressive and/or clueless drivers and a lack of the county trying to curb the amount of cars on the road. How about carpool/HOV lanes? How about encouraging cycling and riding mass transit? Okay, encouraging cycling is probably a bit of a stretch for Miami.

Mark Simpson
Mark Simpson

it's not roads or amount of traffic, it's the aggressive drivers. Driving here is like entering a war-zone where everyone is trying to kill you, or too busy on their phone to pay attention.

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

Poor PR campaign... @Ezra: I've lived in the northeast as well as TEXAS, and still, Miami beats them ALL with bad traffic and drivers which are the worst this side of the Milky Way. Why is Miami traffic, as bad?! 1-). Public transportation is just as bad, unless u hold a Mon-Fri 9-5 job and rely on the metrorail to get to it. But buses?! If you're not ready to deal with the massive delays, nuts, republican hardliners and unprofessional-indestructible-untouchable drivers, I wouldn't recommend riding a "guagua", unless u live downtown and work on the beach. 2-). Such system is build to cater exclusively the working professionals, those who won't be stuck on US1 for hours and the voting elders from little Havana, Hialeah and Westchester. That's why people rather invest in a vehicle, than be exposed to the elements and deal with nonsense. Therefore, doing the math, every house with 8 inhabitants, has at least, 7-8 vehicles. Multi

jgcamp99
jgcamp99

You can't make the person in front of you go, if they won't take it upon themselves to drive to their destination, safely and efficiently.

luismf
luismf

Welcome to Miami. I lived there my whole life. All of my family still live there and I hate that that place.  I now live in Asheville NC.

EzƦă VɅǹ
EzƦă VɅǹ

Only people who have never lived in other cities think Miami traffic is bad (and Naples doesn't count) I've lived in 17 cities and Miami actually is very good when it comes to traffic and highways. I know it's hard to believe but it's MUCH worse in other cities of similar size. In DC it can take about 90 minutes to go 15 miles. Every morning with no accidents and that's not an uncommon commute. All my friends from other cities are constantly amused at how Miami locals complain about traffic. Once you start spending 4 hours a day in your car then you will realize what the rest of the US is doing. That's why they are so miserable.

Burbank Okuda
Burbank Okuda

I live in Miami and it is not the roads..it's the worst drivers anywhere. It is people who have not one thought about laws, speeding and unsafe driver actions. I love my city, but these drivers scare anyone who drives (even those of us from LA).

Jerry Gonzalez
Jerry Gonzalez

Driving would be fine if not for the Instaphotographers with the #selfies and the #skyporn and #cloudporn BITCH DRIVE! Gonna cause a freakin four car pile up cuz you doing a pic stitch.

Mercy Mercy-Me
Mercy Mercy-Me

it's not the roads. it's the drivers. I can always tell when I'm about to enter Miami because all the cars immediately begin to converge upon my car and try to kill me.

Amy Snilloc
Amy Snilloc

Miami roads are fine, Miami drivers not so much...

Melissa Tirado
Melissa Tirado

says the scientist who also has never driven 595.

Jennifer Nanni
Jennifer Nanni

I have heart palpitations every time I have to drive in Miami.

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...