SF Bay area bridge traffic stagnant or down in past decade
By Peter Samuel
Growth in traffic can no longer be assured many places in the US. The San Francisco Bay area is an example. We've gone through ten years of the traffic data. Five of the seven Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) bridges have been seeing traffic recently below a peak year. Overall the seven bridges total traffic is down 3.8% on the peak back in 2004.
The biggest bridge in the area the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge peaked in 2001. It is best seen however as having no clear trend up or down in the past ten years. This year it is down on the peak year but by just 4%.
Two bridges are running at record levels:
- the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge in the middle of the South Bay though it is only just over 2004 levels, by 0.2%
- the Benicia Martinez Bridge has also just had its busiest year, but again the margin of increase is tiny 0.1%
Three bridges have had serious declines in traffic:
- the Antioch bridge in the far northeast of the region down 15.7% on its 2007 peak
- the Carquinez Bridge in the north down 11% on the 2004 peak
- the Dumbarton Bridge linking Silicon Valley across the far south of the Bay down 11.9% on the 2001 peak.
Reasons for the traffic stagnation or decline could include:
- the current recession
- generally slow growth in California for a decade now
- higher fuel prices and toll rates
- more away-from-office work