Traffic Congestion

Can America win the battle against gridlock?


When January's earthquake shook Los Angeles, it also jolted long-held assumptions about transportation in the nation's most car-dependent city. As commuters detoured around collapsed freeways, traffic experts, environmentalists and city planners framed the tragedy as a turning point in the ongoing war over the role of the car in U.S. life. Within months, however, it was clear that most commuters were returning to old habits, lured back by the freedom and convenience embodied in the private auto. Still, most policy-makers know the traffic crisis, and attendant pollution woes, will not ease without a concerted search for remedies. Most place their hopes in a combination of futuristic highway technology, regional land-use planning, alternative transportation modes and incentives to discourage solo driving.

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