The Road More Traveled

Why the Congestion Crisis Matters More Than You Think
and What We Can Do About It

by Ted Balaker and Sam Staley

“Balaker and Staley clearly debunk the myth that
there is nothing we can do about congestion.”
Mary E. Peters, U.S. Secretary of Transportation

For most of us, traffic has gotten so bad that it impacts nearly all of our decisions, big and small. Traffic is a major consideration when we choose where to live, work, shop, and even who we’ll date or what time of day we’ll leave the house to run errands. Things have gotten so bad that the average American spends over 45 hours a year, over a full work week, stuck in traffic.

Yet, in a disturbing violation of the “can-do” American spirit, most politicians and planners have simply thrown in the towel and surrendered to gridlock. “We can’t eliminate traffic and we can’t build our way out of congestion,” they lament.

So should we all just accept the daily grind of traffic as a modern-day fact of life? An emphatic “No!” is the answer presented in the new book, The Road More Traveled.

“We don’t accept failing schools and we cannot accept congestion,” authors Ted Balaker and Samuel Staley say. “If we’re sitting in traffic we aren’t playing with our kids or enjoying our hobbies. Businesses are raising prices to make up for wasted fuel and lost productivity. Our time, money, and quality of life are too valuable to just give up. We have the ideas, technology and capital to eliminate congestion. We just need the willpower.”

Through the years our cars and highways have provided unprecedented door-to-door mobility that helped America become the most prosperous nation in the world. But The Road More Traveled warns that bottlenecked roads pose a serious threat to this prosperity. Congestion robs the U.S. economy of over $63 billion a year and traffic delays are expected to increase by more than 65 percent over the next 25 years. If we don’t make up for years of neglect and prepare for future growth, our economy will be crippled by our inability to move goods or people.

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©2007 Coalition On Sustainable Transportation