Most people hate nothing more than being stuck in traffic. Migraines aren’t popular either, but since many head aches are traffic induced, there doesn’t seem to be anything worse in a daily commuter’s life.
The main cause for traffic is obvious with the average household owning 2-3 cars. Distance traveled to work has doubled over the years and with millions of cars on the road during rush hour, congestion is inevitable.
The Department of Transportation indicates that “over the last 20 years or so, nearly twice as many miles are driven today on a road system that has increased in size by only 5 percent. Such heavy demand, coupled with temporary reductions in capacity resulting from causes such as crashes and work zones, are making traveling increasingly costly and frustrating.”
So what is the solution? 3/4 of traffic accidents are caused by driver error. Same thing goes for congestion. With this in mind, ‘smart-cars’ and vehicle-to-vehicle communication seem like the next step: Honda has already developed a system where the car is nudged automatically once in a while to stay in the center of the lane. Cameras tell you how close you are to a curb or car behind you. Even though technical advancements in this field are constantly made, cars that chauffer their owners around through smooth flowing traffic are not going to exist for a while.
With the constant rise in gas prices and environmental awareness, hybrid vehicles and no-pollution cars are attractive options. But this still does not help the traffic issue.
The main solution right now seems to be the carpool. In attempts to organize carpools at work I am often met with raised eyebrows. I hate traffic so much that I gave my 2 weeks notice right after enduring my first 3 hour commute at a job. Unfortunately, carpooling has not proven popular enough to seriously reduce traffic on the roads. In a blog published by the ‘Daily Kos’, a computer organized carpooling program is described in detail: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/4/22/225134/764
Not only does carpooling save all participants money, but it reduces traffic and pollution. Companies benefit as well by reducing the number of parking spaces needed. In fact, many carpoolers receive rewards from their company or county for carpooling.
The U.S Department of Transportation states that then an average 40-hour work week per year is spent in congestion! This accounts for a tremendous amount of stress, wasted gas and environmental pollution, not to mention wasted time.