Archive for the Category » Traffic «

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009 | Author: admin

Last Tuesday was the presidential inauguration and downtown DC braced for a very large crowd.  But a funny thing happened, there was no traffic.  In this story, they examine how over four times the number of daily commuters entered the city on this day.

This proves that if people just work together using mass transit and ride sharing that we can have a dramatic impact on our daily commutes.  On inauguration day, an estimated 1.8 million people got to their destination with more ease than the typical 400,000 daily commuters.  So even with most of the bridges closed to traffic, four and half times as many people entered downtown DC.

The crowd at the Washington MonumentOn normal workdays in Washington, 40% of the commuters or 160,000 people drive alone.  Single passenger vehicles are the biggest contributor to our nations gridlock problems.  Getting more people to utilize mass transit, group rides, bike and walk would improve everyone’s daily commute.

I know the current thinking is that we need to greatly enhance our nation’s roadways and build more lanes.  While this will help, it is going to cost us billions and billions of dollars as you can see in the stimulus proposal.

Last Tuesday was a historic day in many ways.  In the spirit of cooperation and national unity, we saw a great number of people avoid the nasty traffic that plagues us every single day.  I would like to see this type of togetherness become the rule, instead of the exception.

Creative Commons License photo credit: acnatta

Category: Red, Traffic  | Tags: , , ,  | 5 Comments
Friday, January 23rd, 2009 | Author: admin

As President Obama continues to build his cabinet, I don’t like what I am hearing from his nominee to the Transportation Department.  In this Wall Street Journal story, they say that he is making the case to give a bigger role to the private sector in rebuilding our roads and bridges.  Here is a quote from the story:

“There’s not going to be enough money,” Mr. LaHood told the Senate Commerce Committee. “I think we do have to think outside the box.”

Now I agree that there is not enough money for all the necessary transportation projects, but how is this thinking outside the box?  Allowing private investors to build, operate and maintain new toll roads and bridges is very dangerous to our economy.Silicon Valley Highway 101 Traffic Hell

In another story, Mr. LaHood gives his endorsement for more toll roads.  This is such a short sighted strategy to “fix” our long term transportation problems.  State governments are desperate to make up their budget gaps and these large upfront payments look very attractive.  Unfortunately, as time goes, by the private investors enjoy steady returns on their investment from hard working commuters.

Here is one such example where a foreign corporation contributes less than $350 million to a $1.9 billion taxpayer funded project, yet they are set to enjoy 80 years of profit from the tolls.  The private company will build High Occupancy Toll lanes on the Capital Beltway in Northern Virginia.  Once the lanes are completed in 4 years, drivers will be charged $1 a mile during rush hours.  Are you kidding me, who can afford this on a daily basis?

I have written a few other posts on how much I despise tolls.  They are one of the most inefficient ways to fund a road and they greatly contribute to traffic, accidents and additional carbon emissions.  Once erected, they never come down and the prices rise with little or no control from the people who actually use the roads.

Since when is building more tolls and sticking commuters with the bill considered “thinking outside the box”?  The answer can not be to just build additional transportation infrastructure since we continue to always exceed the capacity of our roadways.  Real innovative thinking will produce solutions that cut our consumption and conserve energy.  Don’t you agree?

Creative Commons License photo credit: richardmasoner

Monday, December 01st, 2008 | Author: admin

Today new toll rates went into effect for vehicles traveling on the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike.  Yes, I travel on both of these roads every week and I hate tolls.

These are not small increases.  On the Parkway, the price at most booths will rise from .35 to .50 or an almost 43% increase.  Where else can you raise your prices by 43% and get away with it?  The Turnpike is just as bad where the average ride will increase from $1.20 to $1.70 or an almost 42% rise.

Creative Commons License photo credit: bovinity

Many drivers will continue to ride these roads and pay the increases since there are not many options.  Others will attempt to avoid the tolls and look for free alternatives.  This will result in more congestion on these roads and increase the already bad traffic.  Ultimately this means longer commutes with more wasted time and gas.

So why the increase?  These additional revenues are to be used to fund various construction projects at a cost of over $8 billion.  Yes, $8 billion, plus committing another $1.25 billion for a tunnel to Manhattan.

Am I the only one who thinks this is an incredible waste of our money?  Just what we need in a bad economy, higher commuting costs.

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008 | Author: admin

IMG_2375The recent steep price drop in gasoline means that traveling by car is now a bargain compared to other transportation options.  This is causing many people to stay closer to home this holiday season.

According to the Huffington Post, a reduction in travel makes for a Greener Thanksgiving.  They reference numbers from AAA to back up their story:

“AAA reports that for the first time in six years, fewer Americans will head out for the holiday to celebrate with family and friends. In fact, AAA says that 1.4 percent fewer travelers will travel during this time, and 7.2 percent less people plan to use airlines.”

The day before Thanksgiving is normally one of the busiest travel days of the year, but the numbers are clearly down.  This is definitely good news for the environment.

An additional benefit to a decrease in the number of airline passengers is a reduction in flight delays.  So the people who do need to fly are getting through the airports quicker.  All of this reinforces the core idea of Passenger Energy that conservation is the most effective source of renewable energy.

Creative Commons License photo credit: jwalsh

Friday, October 31st, 2008 | Author: admin

We are heading toward unbearable gridlock

Traffic gets worse every single day, the time to act is now.  As the population continues to rise, our limited road capacity is incapable of handling the increased volume.  The cost of building new highways is staggering and not possible in many areas.

Traffic-Stopping Accident on the Tappan Zee Bridge
Creative Commons License photo credit: th.omas

This excessive congestion results in delays that cost drivers over $63 billion annually and over 2 billion gallons in wasted fuel.  The biggest cause of this problem is over 85% of America’s daily commuters are single driver private vehicles.

Why do people like cars?  They are more comfortable, faster, convenient, more private and flexible than any other option.  Pay4Rides could continue to provide these benefits while greatly reducing the total volume of vehicles at any one time.

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 | Author: admin

Need clean routes to respond to calls

Creative Commons License photo credit: confidentjohn

How are ambulances, rescue vehicles, police and fire engines going to respond to emergencies in a timely manner if they are stuck in traffic?  Leaving cars home will help lighten traffic and ensure fire and rescue vehicles can make their calls as fast as possible.  How would you feel if your house was on fire or your family was in desperate need of an ambulance only to find out it got stuck in traffic?

One other issue, is the rise of some motorist ignoring sirens.  Drivers are less aware of the sirens and flashing lights on emergency vehicles because of cell phones and loud stereos.  Passengers could help alert drivers to any critical situations.

Category: Red, Traffic  | Tags: ,  | Leave a Comment
Friday, October 17th, 2008 | Author: admin

Car Accidents – cost all of us

According to AAA, auto accidents cost over $164 billion each year, or over $1,000 per person.  The costs include medical care, emergency and police services, property damage, lost productivity and quality of life.  Nearly 43,000 people die each year on the nations roadways.
Car flipped on roof
Creative Commons License photo credit: tedkerwin 

Some people prefer the term “crash” since the term “accident” suggests an unpredictable, unpreventable event.  There have been many advances to reduce the cause of accidents including improved road design and better car safety standards. 

While these and other ideas are very beneficial, simple reducing the number of cars on the road would make Pay4Rides a very smart choice.

Category: Cars, Red, Traffic  | Tags: ,  | One Comment
Wednesday, October 15th, 2008 | Author: admin

Our traffic volume exceeds our capacity

Congestion is a state of excessive accumulation or overfilling or overcrowding. Traffic congestion occurs when the volume of traffic exceeds the capacity of a roadway.

RWP_080726-3979Census shows 282 million people in the U.S. during the year 2000 with a projected increase to 309 million by 2010 and 335 million by 2020.  This situation will only continue to worsen.

The 2007 Urban Mobility Report compiled by the Texas Transportation Institute estimates that traffic congestion costs Americans over $63 billion a year.  In 2003, the total amount of delay reached 3.7 billion hours, and 2.3 billion gallons of fuel were lost as engines sat idling in traffic.  “The congestion invoice” as it is called by researchers climbs drastically when you factor in current fuel prices.

How long are we going to wait to do something about it?


Creative Commons License photo credit: rogerwp

Sunday, October 12th, 2008 | Author: admin

We HATE tolls!

Toll collection is the least efficient and most expensive way to fund a road.  Just think of all the associated costs:

• Toll construction
• Toll collectors salary & benefits
• E-Z Pass systems
• Administration

Waukegan Plaza 21

Creative Commons License photo credit: HelveticaFanatic

Toll roads are very inefficient:

• Require vehicles to stop or slow down
• Manual toll collection wastes time and raises vehicle operating costs
• Collection costs can absorb up to third of revenues
• Traffic diversion to “free” roads increases congestion on those roads

Besides the actual cost of the toll, they also greatly contribute to traffic and pollution.  They also increase wear and tear on our cars through the need to brake more often.  Finally, tolls unfairly place the burden of paying for the roads on daily commuters.  Toll increases threaten to make it harder for many lower and middle income earners to afford their daily commute.

If Passenger Energy became successful, a percentage of each transaction could go towards road maintenance and construction and maybe eliminate the need for tolls.

Category: Red, Traffic  | Tags: , ,  | One Comment