It’s one of everybody’s favorite topics: how bad the traffic is. We’ll check it out. Today, on Engineering Works!
Nobody likes their morning and evening commutes. Even in small towns, people complain about the traffic. And they’re right. Across the country, we waste a lot of time sitting in our cars. Waiting. In its latest annual survey of traffic congestion, the Texas Transportation Institute found that every year traffic congestion costs each of us on the road more than $750. Almost a full work week’s time. Three week’s gas.
The goofy part is that simply building more roads doesn’t seem to help. It might even make it worse, some experts say. For instance, engineers who studied traffic in California found that if we add 10 percent to the capacity of the highways, nine-percent more traffic will show up to drive on it. In four years or less. The number of miles cars travel on roads and streets has grown four-times as fast as the population since the late 1960s.
What to do about it? Those experts are divided. Some say build more highways, but design them better. Others say we’d do better just to close down some lanes, make the highways smaller. Yet others suggest that we need to get real and recognize that towns and cities are going to be congested, but they don’t have to stay congested all day long.
The traffic’s building up outside, so we’d better leave. See you next time.
Engineering Works! is made possible by Texas A&M Engineering and produced by KAMU-FM in College Station. Learn more about engineering. Visit us on the World Wide Web. http://engineeringworks.tamu.edu
Start the discussion: Some of these ideas sound pretty goofy, but what we’re doing now doesn’t seem to work, either. What do you think?