Monday, May 09, 2005

Nation’s Traffic Getting Worse

Here’s a shock to everyone that lives in a major US metropolitan area: A new study shows that the nation’s traffic jams are getting worse.

The AP reported today that a new study by the Texas Transportation Institute showing that congestion delayed travelers by 79 million more hours and wasted 69 million more gallons of gas in 2003 than in 2002. The study was released as the Senate resumes debate on a $284 billion highway bill.

The solution to our nation’s traffic and energy problems lies not with expanding our nation’s roads. But, rather with smart growth proposals that balance the need to construct and improve highways with projects to better manage traffic as well as a substantial investment in mass transit systems.


At 12:59 PM, Blogger Sean said...

you cannot be serious. After years of government trying to "manage" growth, and traffic. You actually believe they can do that? More people and more cars, mean more traffic. Mass transportation is expensive and inconvenient. Every city with bad traffic has mass transit systems.
This idea that something is somehow inherently wrong with 'gasp' building more roads for more cars, makes no sense.
wake up. Americans love their cars, they are a part of the American identity. This idea that politicians will egt us to give up our cars, jsut will not work. Especially for people who commute and have families. You going to pick the kids up from school and take them to the doctor, then to soccer practice on mass transit?? Not gonna happen.
This is just another way of the government trying to tell people how to live.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...


We're not suggesting that the government should restrict movement or deny people the right to drive their cars whenever or wherever they want. We're merely advocating smart growth ideas that encompass more than just slapping down endless amounts of concrete. Mass transit systems help a lot. I don't know where you live, but here in Washington, if the tens of thousands of Metro riders suddenly took to their cars, the city would shut down in gridlock. The same can be said for New York City. And down in Dallas, the new DART trains have been a huge success.

Sometimes more roads or wider roads are the best solution. Sometimes a train line would work better. Sometimes there is not even space to build roads (unless you think we should go knocking down people's homes and businesses). Smart growth ideas try to find the best solution. It's about keeping our cities viable, keeping high-traffic destinations accessible and keeping commerce functioning. I don't think it's asking too much to be creative with traffic solutions and recognize that more roads is not always the best solution.

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Joe Weedon said...

They key point is that we need a balance of enhancement of existing roads and the construction of new roads along with the development of alternatives to driving.

The idea isn't to replace America's cars, but to get Americans to utilize mass transit as a compliment to their cars. Some individuals should be encouraged to drive to the local metro station and take mass transit into the city rather than sit on congested roadways. We’re not saying that mass transit is a replacement for trips to the supermarket or to the soccer field.

An additional part of "smart growth" that gets overlooked by communities revolves around planning for the daily commute. That means utilizing strategies such as reversible lanes to increase traffic capacity during rush hours, improved response time to accidents, and the synchronization of traffic lights to promote traffic flow (a major problem in Washington DC where I live and drive to the office). It also involves enhancing bridges and highways circling the city as well as the feeder routes into the city – i.e., new construction to enhance capacity.

A major problem with mass transit systems today is that they are inefficient and inconvenient. That’s due, in no small part, to significant under-funding of the systems. That’s why TYL called for a substantial investment in mass transit – so the systems can be efficient and effective.

Besides, what’s wrong with the government trying to persuade some people from utilizing mass transit? It reduces pollution and reduces demand for gasoline as well as reducing congestion.


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