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Sunday, December 09, 2007


Bumper to Bumper Traffic

With continuing urban growth and development there are many issues that may arise. One issue in particular is that of increased traffic congestion. In an article released by the Associated Press on September 18, 2007, author Stephen Ohlemacher gives readers statistics about their everyday commutes to work. “Drivers waste nearly an entire work week each year sitting in traffic on the way to and from their jobs, according to a national study…” Why are people in their cars so much? Living further from the city center tends to be less expensive, and therefore encourages more commuters on a day to day basis. With more and more people moving outside the city there is then an increase in the number of vehicle, often carrying only one person, driving in the same direction to work on a daily basis. According to a census, about one quarter of the population has at least two people per vehicle.

Another reason for the congestion, aside from an increase in the population that lives outside the city limits, it that the original planning of the roads and highways was not intended for such high volumes of traffic. “We’ve used up the capacity that had been bequeathed to us by a previous generation, and we haven’t replaced it. The study summed it up this way: ‘Too many people, too many trips over too short of a time period on a system that is too small.’” Although there has been a decrease in optional driving, there has not been a substantial decrease in the number of people and vehicles that commute to work.

Increased city size, and greater amounts of urban growth mean longer commuting times for most people. A fairly simple solution to the problem is to focus on ways to make public transportation in and out of congested urban areas more convenient, efficient and easy to use.

Jenna Cluley

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