Re: How to end traffic congestion

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From: Karl Anderson (
Date: Mon Feb 28 2000 - 18:28:36 PST

Dan Kohn <> writes:

> Now, please don't talk about how any kind of cool new auto-driving
> technology will help things, because it will be decades before the legal
> liability issues are resolved for any sort of technological solution.
> Building more roads doesn't help because people just move farther away. HOV
> lanes are completely unrealistic in today's work world, where factory shifts
> are nearly a thing of the past. So, the answer has to lie in the world of
> economics, and specifically in the sub-branch of political economics.

Important to note, as you started to, that any infrastructure
improvement gets immediately filled to capacity, leaving everyone just
where they were before, but with more pollution and a huge highway

But while your true congestion pricing model is interesting, it'll
never happen in the USA that we recognize. Look up the huge subsidy
that gas consumers get here. We're paying half or less of what
civilized people are paying. We're not paying the full bill for
killing people, neighborhoods, and cities, even if you ignore the
environmental costs that gas prices don't reflect. Gas taxes don't
even fully pay for roads, for godsake. But the Presidential candadate
debates on increasing the gas tax by a piddling amount were instantly
turned into a choir a few years ago. It got turned into a working
class issue, & Bob Dole even threw in a line about the need of
Americans to drive their cars "to worship".

Any plan that impacts the ability of Americans to drive from the
suburbs to the city in single-occupancy gas guzzlers will be shot
down. Americans aren't able to see cars and car infrastructure in any
kind of rational light. HOV lanes are unrealistic not for any
rational reason, but because people don't understand what's going on.
When I lived in Seattle & worked for a well-known suburban software
company, I rode my motorcycle past *miles* of zombies who were
motionless because they couldn't ride in the *2 person "HOV" lane*. I
spent 20 minutes getting home, they spent 60 or 90 minutes. The HOV
lanes were literally *empty* except for me and at most 1 car and 1
motorcyclist each commute. Everyone was pricing the convenience of
sitting in traffic whenever they wanted to over the hassle of actually
getting home with a co-worker at a time that both had to agree on.

Cities all over the world are enacting car-free days, here in the USA
people think that the entire economy would crash over something like
that, & they're proabably right. But the economy is going to go nuts
if and when gas prices shoot up, anyway.

Karl Anderson      <URL:>

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