Fall semester traffic

I can understand why traffic is so bad when fall semester begins at UGA. Students are finding their way around, buying textbooks, doing other shopping, and making whatever other preparations they need for a new academic year.

But why does it take over a month to lighten up to a normal amount of traffic? Why does it not lighten up once students get their textbooks and settle into a routine? One idea I've had is that perhaps a lot of freshmen and transfer students eventually learn that driving so much is not worthwhile due to the time it takes with so much traffic and so they eventually learn to reduce their trips and become more efficient. Another has posited that perhaps students drive less and walk more when the weather cools off.

What do you think?


Tim said...

I wonder if its 'recency bias'? That is, we get spoiled over the summer then BAM, the students are back and traffic is terrible. About a month later, we are getting used to it and it doesn't seem as bad. Just a thought. It is bad though no doubt. Athens is no longer the sleepy little town that it was during the summer.

Adrian Pritchett said...

Actually, we've got data that would show that traffic drops. Since I drive for a living, I have observed how long my trips take, and I can also see how many cars are backed up at red lights at certain times of the day. The first week is a complete mess, then it's really thick for a couple weeks, then it thins out after a couple more weeks.

The weather as a reason got another vote from a student, reporting herself that she wanted to drive more in the summer heat and heard the same from someone else.