Miscellany:Borrowing ideas from foreign countries to fix our transportation system
|This is an archive of Larson for Delegate.|
I think we should borrow ideas from foreign countries to fix our transportation system. Just like, in the 1990s, it wouldn't have made sense to have an American company build your car, because American companies didn't know how to build a decent car; and just like today, it generally wouldn't make sense for a man to marry an American woman, because most American women don't know how to be good wives; it doesn't make sense to have American engineers continue to be in charge of our transportation system, since they can't seem to figure out how to fix congestion in this area. Sometimes, just throwing money at a problem isn't going to fix it; you have to put some different people, from a different culture that's not as dysfunctional in certain ways as our American culture, in charge.
The British have an arguably superior method, the roundabout (aka traffic circle), of getting people through intersections. In the U.S., I don't see it used much outside of residential areas with light traffic, where it seems to serve more of a decorative purpose of creating a certain ambience, or feng shui if you will. Maybe we could use a couple roundabouts on Route 28, where they have those superfluous stoplights right next to Route 66 near Braddock Road. I don't know if that's the answer, but everyone seems to be in agreement that those stoplights need to go, whether by building an overpass or by some other means. (On the other hand, the overpasses on 28 in that area tend to get pretty clogged too; during rush hour, you can be stuck there for a half hour or longer, if you need to make a turn.)
I think we might look at the German autobahn and consider, could we build highways like that, where the engineering is so good that speed limits are unnecessary? It sure would be fun to take a high performance vehicle such as a sports car up to a higher speed than 65 mph once in awhile. Maybe we should hire a German company to use their expertise to build or renovate some of our major expressways.
Could we build our cities like Japanese cities, with high-density residential areas and massive business districts, so that high-speed rail would be a cost-effective way to get commuters to and from work? Maybe the American dream of having a big house in the suburbs doesn't make a whole lot of sense, since it causes so many of us to end up in debt up to our eyeballs, like that guy in the LendingTree commercial.
I think we should build high-speed rail between Washington, DC and New York City, to eliminate the need for so many flights between DC-area airports and JFK Airport.
Given how many of us spend 2-3 hours a day staring at taillights, and how long this problem has been going on, we definitely need to begin looking for some innovative solutions.
What about some innovative ideas that have been suggested, but apparently never implemented anywhere? For example, what about separating car traffic from truck traffic, and having trucks travel interstate via toll truckways? Motorists would probably appreciate not getting slowed down by all those trucks anymore when they're on the interstate.
What about private turnpike companies? They built many of the highways during the early years of the republic. Could they play a useful role today, by helping us harness the power of the free market to get some better roads?
I think it's time for some experimentation, because what we're doing now isn't working.
- "Early Turnpikes Provided Solution to Lack of Reliable Roads". Connecticut History.