Two suggestions for improving traffic congestion:
A professor at the school I came from has an interesting paper: he finds an unexpectedly huge effect of public transit on relieving congestion.
Also, an op-ed in the NYT about the importance of increasing the gas tax.
One day later, the Washington Post chimes in, summarizing a study that finds that gas taxes are 6-14 times as effective as fuel standards. The problem? People find such standards less threatening: they don't worry about having to pay for more expensive cars down the road, while the prospect of paying more at the pump is something worth changing one's vote over!