Getting Out of Gridlock

| April 1, 2002

Getting Out of Gridlock, Jim Motavalli, E Magazine
The drive to work is already bad and just keeps getting worse, according to many studies of freeway congestion. One third of the average city's space is devoted to serving the automobile. An hour a day in the car is average for Americans. Sooner or later, something will have to change. Jim Motavalli, editor of the environmental E Magazine, explores both the history of the highway lobby and the search for alternatives to car addiction. As with many things in America, a few people have a lot at stake in keeping cars on the road. Motavalli writes of one such highway lobby: 'It's not surprising, then, that the Highway Users Alliance sees the solution to America's congestion problem as building more roads.' A University of California study shows, however, that whenever more roads are built they are almost instantly filled with more traffic. But there is also good news, trains and buses are being used at the highest rates in 40 years. With possible solutions such as light rail, congestion pricing, and telecommuting being implemented across the country, it may soon be easier to get from here to there without driving alone. As Motavalli writes, 'we've got to forget about paving over our problems and apply new solutions.'
--Maria Opitz
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