Conference call Tuesday: Growing Gridlock infrastructure package

The AP will hold a national conference call on Tuesday, June 16, to discuss the data, interactive, stories and other matters related to the upcoming Growing Gridlock infrastructure package.

The call will be at 10:30a Pacific/1:30p Eastern and will be recorded for those who cannot attend. Here is the dial-in information:

Dial-in: 866-235-4843

Conference code: 631-178-4998

Your reporters can access the embargoed data sets at the following link:

If it does not open when you click on it, simply copy and paste the URL into your browser.

The package is for use during the weekend of June 27-28, and the stories will move in advance on Monday, June 22. The full package advisory is below.

For questions, contact AP State Government Editor Tom Verdin at



UNDATED _  The U.S. already faces a crisis of traffic congestion and gridlock in most of its urban areas, but the problem also is growing in even mid-sized cities and many suburban regions. With eight of every 10 Americans living in one of these congested corridors, and the population expected to surge by tens of millions more in the coming decades, transportation planning is taking on an increased urgency. At stake is the answer to a simple question: If gridlock is bad now, how much worse will it be if plans to address it are inadequate or even non-existent? By Joan Lowy and Justin Pritchard. UPCOMING: 1,900 words. Also moving with an abridged version. Photos. Video. Interactive. Fractured Framework logo.


The AP examines two possible solutions to worsening gridlock, one rooted in our rail past and the other using the emerging technology of driverless cars.


Commute in America: A look at how long it takes to get to work and the preferred methods of transportation in America’s urban areas.


The AP will share the following data points three weeks in advance of the publication date so members can localize the package if they desire.

_ Overall mean commuter time for all modes of transportation (including carpools, transit use and solo drivers) per metropolitan statistical area. The spreadsheet will be sortable to make comparisons to the national mean and similarly sized MSAs.

_ Populations for the nation’s metropolitan statistical areas for 2010, 2015 and 2020.

_ Vehicle miles of travel (VMT) for every region of the country with a population of 50,000 or greater, for 2010 and 2013.


RALEIGH, N.C _ Like many fast-growing parts of the country, North Carolina’s Triangle region is trying to keep from being strangled by its own success. Everyone can see traffic is thickening, and they spend an increasing amount of time stuck in it. Seeing a solution is not so easy. By Joan Lowy. UPCOMING: 1,200 words. Photos.


BOSTON _ Public transportation, especially commuter rail, has long been hailed as a surefire remedy for traffic congestion, but many of the nation’s largest mass transit systems are struggling with their end of the bargain. Their infrastructure is aging and they lack the money to keep up with basic maintenance, let alone modernize and expand service to attract more riders. By Bob Salsberg. UPCOMING: 1,200 words. Photos.


SACRAMENTO, Calif. _ Business travelers, tourists and locals easily whiz from city to city on high-speed trains in many parts of South America, Asia and Europe. Since the first high-speed trains began operating more than 50 years ago in Japan, they have become an essential part of transportation infrastructure worldwide. Yet the U.S. has never built a single mile of high-speed rail, and proposals to do so have been thwarted for decades. So what’s holding America back? By Juliet Williams. UPCOMING: 850 words. Photos.


LOS ANGELES _ Fewer of tomorrow’s freeways will be free. In exchange, drivers willing and able to pay will avoid the traffic congestion that bedevils everyone else. Toll lanes are an increasingly common solution in metropolitan regions where there is limited public space or money to widen highways. One response that is growing in popularity is to convert carpool lanes to let solo drivers pay for a faster ride. In the future, non-carpool lanes might also be tolled. This is just one approach transportation planners are taking as they try to reverse the nation’s deepening crisis of traffic congestion. With little prospect of game-changing mounds of federal cash for new construction, the goal is to squeeze as much efficiency as possible out of current highways. By Justin Pritchard. UPCOMING: 850 words. Photos.


The problem is clear: Traffic congestion will become significantly worse and more widespread without big changes in how people and products get around. Build more roads. Build more public transit. Rely on new technology. The possible solutions are many, but none is easy or cheap. Following is a range of ways to unjam the nation’s gridlock. UPCOMING: 800 words in Q&A style.


WASHINGTON _ A majority of Americans prefer living in a single-family house in the suburbs or a rural area with more land, even if it means driving long distances to get to work or just run errands, according to a poll by The Associated Press-GfK. Yet a significant minority, 44 percent, would choose an apartment or smaller house in an urban area that comes with a short drive to work or the opportunity to use public transportation, bike or walk. The share of Americans who prefer suburban or rural living _ 53 percent _ is identical to the share who say the government should increase spending on building and improving roads, bridges and interstate highways. By Joan Lowy and Emily Swanson. UPCOMING: 700 words.


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