Research measures driving in Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - By Jonathan Hardison

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Birmingham has the 3rd worst traffic in the nation, according to a new report that measures total driving time.

The study by a group called CEO's for Cities says Birmingham is one of the worst cities for what it calls excess travel, or going farther than you have to. The study finds Birmingham drivers go an extra 1828 miles and spend an extra 85 hours in the car because of having to drive longer distances. And it's not just on the main highways.

"I know I never really, when I'm sitting around at home, think to map out alternative routes to and from work, so I guess it's something that slips everyone's minds until they're caught in traffic," said Jeremy Burgess, a Birmingham driver.

"If I go any farther than Hoover I try to go before 3:30pm, I try to go before 3pm so I can get through all of it or try to get through all of it," said local driver, Teresa Merrill. "No it doesn't surprise me because traffic is awful in Birmingham especially around whenever people get off work. It's awful."

"3rd in the country surprises me," Burgess said. "Top 10, top 20 really wouldn't surprise me what with 280 being the big one. I know that's caused a lot of problems the past several years. And even 65 and 31 can get pretty backed up at times."

As the metro area tries to grow and attract new jobs, traffic nightmares could turn off visitors to the possiblity of living here. But one driver who just moved to the area 5 months ago isn't so sure.

"I think where there's jobs, people will come," said Bernard Craig. "Where there's opportunity, people will come. Regardless of the traffic, if there's money to be made and they can make it, they'll take a bike or motorcycle by whatever means necessary."

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