Across the nation, traffic snarls are more common than ever. In many major cities, “rush hour” lasts from around 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. each day. Commuters expect traffic jams and delays. The nation’s roads simply were not designed to support as much traffic as they need to handle each day in order for its residents to safely reach their destinations, and the infrastructure challenges are becoming more obvious than ever.
Why so many traffic delays?
Traffic delays occur for a number of reasons, many of which are outside the control of the average driver on the road:
- Vehicle congestion: There are too many cars on the roads. For years, news outlets have warned of overcrowding and the resulting increase in charges for vehicle owners, especially in large cities. Some of those cities are even considering legislation that could limit the number of cars registered in the city in an effort to curb congestion.
- Public transportation: In many areas, public transportation is inaccessible and slow, making it hard to use and causing more people to turn to their cars.
- Lack of sidewalk and bike paths: Eco-friendly transportation methods, including biking and walking, are inaccessible in many areas of America due to the sheer size of some cities, the way things are spread out in those cities, and even safety concerns.
- Poorly-maintained roadways: Many roads require what seems like never-ending maintenance, causing shutdowns and increasing delays across the board.
- Lack of expansion: There are no reasonable options for building more highways to increase convenience.
America’s roads are becoming increasingly hazardous, and more drivers than ever are struggling to make their commutes and keep them as safe as possible. Dealing with the challenge has become a pressing concern, particularly in many major cities.
Each year, many of the citizens of those cities waste time sitting in traffic or waste money dealing with the impact on their vehicles from poorly-maintained roads, from increased risk of flat tires to brakes that have to be replaced more frequently.
Solutions to Traffic Delays
While there are many challenges facing the average driver today—and many problems that could raise risks out on the road—luckily, there are also solutions. The Biden administration aims to repair damaged infrastructure and improve not just the quality of roads and transportation options, but their designs. With those efforts, drivers may soon start to see more solutions to the problems they’ve been facing.
Other solutions include:
- Better infrastructure: Cities of the future may have better infrastructure designed to reduce the need for personal vehicles, including a more robust, accessible public transportation system.
- Autonomous vehicles: Driverless vehicles could decrease the number of people who have to own their own vehicles.
- Rideshare options: Platforms like Uber and Lyft have already reduced demand for personal vehicle ownership and made it easier for the average person to access personalized transportation options in a convenient, accessible way.
- Better road maintenance: New technology in asphalt paving and road creation makes it easier for cities to maintain the roads they already have, which can create a safer infrastructure and help avoid road closures.
- Working from home: As people settle into a permanent work pattern amidst the pandemic, many more people may choose to work from home either in a hybrid model or on a full-time basis, easing some of the strain on roads. The high number of people moving out of big cities and into more suburban and rural areas may also help ease the strain.
The challenge of increased congestion on the roads is very real. Traffic accidents and fatalities continue to rise. The current road system is in dire need of strategies to help rebuild and transform it, from more reasonable public transportation options to better maintenance and repair that will help keep roads open and safe.
While those challenges abound, however, Americans continue to adapt, from helping to create new technology to looking for ways that they can decrease time spent on the road.