SALT LAKE CITY — A new study shows traffic congestion along 400 South leading to and from the University of Utah could have been much worse if not for the TRAX line.
“It’s a pretty remarkable success story,” said Reid Ewing, a University of Utah professor of city and metropolitan planning.
The recent University of Utah study looked at traffic along 400 South before, during and after the TRAX line opened in the early 2000s. They found a decline of almost 10,000 vehicles per day, a traffic volume level not seen since the mid ’80s.
Ewing said the decline in volume is especially encouraging given the ongoing development on campus and along 400 south.
“We save something like 7 million pounds of CO2 and 360,000 gallons of gasoline,” Ewing said. “Right now there are about 23,000 people each day using the University TRAX line, that’s roughly the same number of cars you have on 400 South.”
Ewing said there are many benefits to people using the TRAX line, including cleaner air, a reduction to carbon pollution, and financial savings for the university, as they don’t need to provide as many parking spaces.
However, some say the Utah weather still inhibits some people from using public transit. Jeff Stagg, a recent University of Utah graduate, doesn’t have a car and uses TRAX and his bike to get around. He said his education in biology made him want to change some of his personal habits.
“I would love to see them come more, especially when it is really smoggy, so we can cut down on that, but it is a little bit challenging with the weather conditions, a little bit sometimes for people to walk to TRAX, I think,” Stagg said.