Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rush Hour Traffic: Why haven't we dealt with this?

Rush hour traffic is something I think we should have "solved" long ago. (You know, like the weather.)

I spend a lot of time in traffic because I live in East Ottawa and work in West Ottawa... and Ottawa is an East/West city. There are a lot of jammed spots, and it's always the same ones.

For example, going Eastbound just before the Nicholas exit on the way home is always jammed. Why? Because right before the Nicholas off ramp is a two lane on ramp. Everyone has to slow down to sort themselves out. That seems like poor planning, but I have no idea how to fix it, since I would imagine that both lanes are now necessary (or maybe they aren't).

But aside from that one exit, traffic jams are terrible, terrible things. How can we get rid of them?

It seems to me there are only a few ways to fix traffic jams:
  1. Much better public transportation; subways, tonnes of express buses, etc.
  2. More highways.
  3. Less cars.
I think option 1 takes care of 2 and 3 pretty well. It's also good for the environment. If everyone used public transportation, there would be a lot more focus (and money) put into making public transportation better.

When I look at everyone in their cars, sitting idle, not getting anything done, using up gas... I can't help but wonder how much raw money and and human resources are lost each day in traffic jams. I would think it would be in most cities' best interests to spend a couple million to improve roadways or public transportation in some way. But then again I don't have access to the budgets, so I can't really say.

Did anyone ever see Minority Report? Now there was a futuristic society with great public transportation.