Washington Drivers Spending Less Time in Traffic for Very Obvious Reason

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The good news: Seattle commuters spent an average of one hour less time in mind-numbing, soul-sucking traffic last year as compared to 2007. The bad news: it's because fewer people were on the road because fewer people had jobs to drive to.

That silver lining and dark cloud comes courtesy of the Department of Transportation's latest annual congestion report, which also suggests that the completion of major road projects saved commuters precious minutes. Like the widening of 405 where it meets 90 in Bellevue, which the DOT says shaved 16 minutes off of morning rush hour.

But the major factor affecting Seattle's roads, says the DOT, was the economic downturn. When last it checked, unemployment was only 4.9 percent. Last year it had nearly doubled, driving down with it the number of miles the average Seattleite put on his or her car by nearly 400.

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