Transportation Question Begs for an Answer: What’s Behind the Nonsense About Traffic Gridlock ?
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This report makes connections between two media-oriented columns written 37 years apart: “Taking steps towards the end of the automobile era” which was published in the Ottawa Citizen on December ...
This report makes connections between two media-oriented columns written 37 years apart: “Taking steps towards the end of the automobile era” which was published in the Ottawa Citizen on December 9, 1975, and “What’s Behind the Traffic Gridlock Nonsense in Canada?”, which was provided to multiple outlets, one of which is newspapers, beginning in late 2012. The purpose of this report is to discuss the relationship between the two articles, with emphasis in both cases on involving the public in a more enlightened approach to dealing with the urban transportation problem which has become more costly, disruptive, complex, and intractable with each passing decade. In the discussion it is noted that many of the recommendations in the 1975 article have been implemented, but that much more remains to be done with regard to addressing the private motor vehicle (people and freight traffic) as a major contributor to the congestion component of the urban transportation problem. The purpose of the commentary, therefore, is to foster a national discussion about both the positive and negative aspects of congestion, which includes one immediate, preparatory step. That is, to bury the nonsensical notion of so-called traffic gridlock, so that we can focus needed attention and resources on understanding and respecting congestion as a fundamental force in transportation and land use planning and development matters. In addition to graphics, this report uses the Volume/Capacity Ratio to demonstrate why, to date, no claims about traffic gridlock have been substantiated by empirical evidence, and why even simulation/animation of the gridlock process is proving to be very difficult to achieve. I am optimistic, therefore, that this report in combination with previous reports that find the notion of traffic gridlock as a pile of nonsense will be sufficient to either bury the notion, or oblige its proponents to produce the evidence which to date has not been made public and subjected to validation tests.
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