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Solving Congestion Problems with Salt Lake City Traffic

Statistics show the enormous population growth Salt Lake City area has experienced in recent ten years (sensusscope.org). This growth is expected to double sooner than most people think. This will have an impact on Salt Lake City Traffic. Our city already has a hard time keeping up with the smooth traffic flow of our transportation system. The following solutions provide an unusual and unique way of reducing traffic within city limits instead of using the old traditional methods of widening freeways that seem to be running out of room. For a healthier metropolitan area of the future, private transportation such as our privately owned cars, trucks, vans and SUVs need to stay out of the city. This will cause less time spent in traffic for more quality time, better health because of more walking, less traffic accidents, and more focus on public transportation for less noise and air pollution.

Did you ever get stuck in traffic and thought of a million other things you could have been doing instead? Well, I think this happens to most people who are stuck in traffic every day. The Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University research shows that the average rush-hour driver in Los Angeles spent about 90 hours waiting in traffic in 2001, far more than anywhere else (katu.com). You would say that Salt Lake City is so far from that. It’s a much smaller city, so that kind of traffic will never happen here. The reality is, urban areas are growing so fast as we explained the case in Salt Lake City earlier. More and more people find it much more convenient to live in the city. The convenience of having more career, business opportunities and shopping for almost anything within a few miles is a big attraction for people to live in the city. Due to the fast growth, the population density in cities like Salt Lake is exploding.

Because of this, the government has a hard time keeping up with making more efficient and safer roads. As a matter of fact, if you think traffic is getting worse every year, you are not just imagining this. It is a reality that big metropolitan areas are facing the traffic situation head on. Quality of life decreases as more people waste weeks annually in their cars, wasting quality time. An additional problem also evolves causing issues with air pollution because each average commute is taking longer every year.

Even though Salt Lake City’s traffic jams are not as serious compared to L.A, the numbers are showing that even Salt Lake City will reach similar heavy traffic eventually with time. If we will keep using the usual methods of trying to solve traffic problems just by widening roads, or adding more buses, the system will get clogged, and we won’t be able to keep up with the population growth. According to an article in the Deseret News, June 22nd 2002, the average rush-hour commuter spent 20 hours in gridlock during 2000 versus three hours in 1980. The total cost of traffic congestion to Salt Lake motorists is $170 million (fairus.org). The money directly comes out of the consumers pockets wasting more gas stuck in a traffic jams. Many businesses that involve constant transportation as part of business loose efficiency because their average traffic drives are increased in time every year, even though the distance is the same. These are serious numbers. And the scariest part of it all that the numbers are not decreasing.

In a few years, millions of dollars wasted in traffic congestion will rise to billions like it has in many other big cities. Why not take this money ahead of time and invest into a completely new system. I don’t mean just add a passing lane on the freeway, or discounts on bus fare; I am talking about a whole new setup for the cities of the future. A plan that will help reduce Salt Lake City traffic.

This solution is something totally different, and people hate change. But if we must have change, why not take responsibility and change it for the better? The solution to increasing traffic and its huge negative impacts on life is to close down the densest part of the city to private traffic. People will still be able to own cars, but they can only be parked in special compact garages outside the main city border. A private car will only be able to travel outside city limits.

Inside the city, users will be able to do “car sharing”.

Car sharing is a new system where users will have electronic sign ups and schedules letting them know when they can share a car. All the cars inside the city are publicly owned, they are compact and environment friendly. For example, there are 10 cars for every 50 drivers. Instead of having three cars per family, you have one car to share for three families, thus less cars driving on the roads. This is the main reason traffic congestion is decreased by a huge margin, and it is also a way to prevent congestion from reoccurring in the future. This brings a new concept that will improve Salt Lake City traffic in many areas.

Another huge factor that will need to be designed is having as many services available in huge centers. At least 90% of the services should be available within walking distance. Therefore people won’t need to rely on their cars as much, and will walk more for better health. Since most services will be within walking distance, this means even less cars on the road, less traffic congestion. So these service clusters are going to be huge buildings with hundreds of stories that include shopping malls, grocery stores, hospitals, police stations, court houses, post offices, schools, and most of the other common daily, weekly and even monthly services people use.

People will spend less time in their cars, but will spend more time walking, which means they wont have to go to the gym as much, and will use less medications. Semi trucks within city limits will get replaced by electric rail, where all goods are hauled into the city by rail.

This will require a very complex rail system, but it will get all big rigs off the roads so the small economy cars can ride safely inside the city limits. The traffic fatality, injury and expenses automotive wrecks will decrease significantly, especially within the city. Reducing car wrecks within the city is where it matters most, because that’s where by far the largest majority of accidents occur. Since the public car sharing is only within the city limits, the cars have electronic sensors that automatically limit the cars speed depending on the speed limit for that specific street. Safety is important, because less car crashes means less traffic congestion. These projects seem very expensive and far out. But why wait until it’s too late?

Why wait till Salt Lake City traffic becomes another Los Angeles traffic case, or even worse? The engineers and the Salt Lake City traffic committee still need to keep an eye using traditional traffic control methods for the next five years or so. But for the long run,

they really need to change their plans, and face reality, go for something totally new that will be for the better.

These are some brainstorm ideas that can help reduce Salt Lake City traffic and the traffic congestion problems in other metro areas around the world.

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May 23, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

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