Car and Driver: "The American Highway Is Broken."


Image Credit Pmarkham

Zach Rosenberg sounds more like Jim Kunstler, writing in Car and Driver about the state of the highway system in America. He describes how the Interstate Highway System changed the nation:


The interstates have so significantly affected the American landscape that our very lifestyle is unimaginable without them. They were built to connect farms and major production areas with markets in metropolitan areas as well as to link cities together for more efficient business travel. Their road speeds and accessibility allowed urban workers to inhabit more space and live more cheaply, so they picked up an additional role: getting commuters to work and back efficiently. They fulfilled this last responsibility so effectively that a sturdy home and a verdant lawn in the suburbs became the American Dream, pulling people ever outward in such numbers that many metro areas--Los Angeles, Atlanta, Phoenix--now sprawl across hundreds of miles. And the result is the American rush hour, when twice per weekday otherwise free-flowing highways become hopelessly clogged.

Not only that, it is broken and broke, and the switch to fuel efficient or electric cars isn't helping the situation.

The relatively rapid proliferation of fuel-efficient and alternative-fuel vehicles means people are buying less gas per mile driven. The use of cars keeps increasing--car travel is up 39 percent since 1990 and heavy-truck travel, 64 percent--so the increase in traffic outpaces the amount of gasoline purchased. Extremely fuel-efficient cars are becoming more popular, and the owner of an all-electric car isn't funding highways at all.

He calls for a comprehensive transportation strategy, noting that "The America it was built for no longer exists." Not the ra-ra stuff you expect from Car and Driver.
More on infrastructure
Sustainable and Sound Infrastructure Now.
Cost of Repairing the US's Crumbling Infrastructure? $2 Trillion

Follow me on Twitter! @lloydalter

Tags: Transportation

WHAT'S HOT ON FACEBOOK

treehugger slideshows