So we should be happy about traffic.

September 3, 2003

via Heath Row & Fast Company Now

USA Today reports that in the thick of the economic downturn — which has hit Silicon Valley as hard as anywhere — remaining dotcom employees in Northern California face an unexpected upside: less-intense traffic for commuters.

While one woman’s commute once took an hour and 50 minutes, she can now drive home from work in a scant-by-comparison 40 minutes. Some Valley-area business leaders say that rush-hour traffic negatively affected productivity, but Alan Pisarski, a demographer who wrote Commuting in America says, “A tremendous economic association exists between congestion and society’s economic health.”

So if you’re on the lookout for the next boomtown or region, don’t watch the stock market, watch the streets. If traffic gets worse, chances are good that business is picking up.

In Chattanooga, I thought that a majority of our packed roadways were due to our almost constant construction and reconstruction of our traffic arteries. But there seems to be a lot more people in the shops and restaurants as well. It wasn’t until this year that I witnessed an hour (and sometimes 2) wait for a seat in a restaurant. So I wonder if this is colinear with what Heath mentions about traffic congestion? Town in the slumps, low traffic easy seat in a restaurant. Boomtown, congestion and a wait.