Tracking the Motives Behind the Phony War on “Traffic Gridlock”
by Barry Wellar, consultant, expert witness at home-based on Oct 28, 2012
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This report on so-called “traffic gridlock” extends earlier research by examining the possible and probable motives of people in politics, government, journalism, and business in Canada (and in ...
This report on so-called “traffic gridlock” extends earlier research by examining the possible and probable motives of people in politics, government, journalism, and business in Canada (and in any country for that matter) who use a term which they should surely know is conceptual and operational nonsense. The research question is summarized as follows: If there is no empirical evidence of even one gridlock event ever occurring anywhere in Canada, why is the term frequently used by people such as politicians, journalists, traffic engineers, heads of transportation agencies, and representatives of car companies and land development companies who make claims about the need to spend more money on roads, or who boast about spending more money on roads, to either get out of gridlock or to prevent getting trapped in gridlock when there is no apparent evidence of gridlock? I first validate the premise that there is no apparent evidence of a traffic gridlock event ever occurring in Canada. I do that by briefly recalling the evidence-related findings and evidence-related challenges that were included in previous publications, and then I discuss recent research which corroborates the earlier findings regarding the lack of publicly available evidence to support claims about past, present, or foreseeable gridlock events in Canada. The recent research includes another keyword-based literature search which produced no evidence of traffic gridlock events, as well as the failure to obtain evidence supporting claims of traffic gridlock made by William Ford, president of Ford Motor company, the editor of the Ottawa Sun, or participants in the Hearings of the Government of Ontario Standing Committee on General Government - Traffic Congestion, June 04 and June 06, 2012 Finding no evidence to support using the term traffic gridlock, the report then explores the question: What are the possible and probable motives of people in politics, government, journalism, and business who use a term which they should surely know is conceptual and operational nonsense? To start what may become a very revealing national and even international discussion, I list more than fifty motives, and then I briefly comment on five of them: scaremongering; pandering to ideology; serving a vested interest or vested interests; sell “fluff”; and influence outcomes. . I conclude the report by suggesting several next steps that invite widespread participation in tracking motives, and the politicians, government officials, journalists, and business people behind the motives, as a means of diminishing the intensity and the duration of the phony war on traffic gridlock.
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