. We probably have more than we need. Try driving around the metro area at 6 on a Sunday morning. It’s like you are driving at warp speed. You just went from East Cobb to Alpharetta in the blink of an eye. You just drove on I-285 completely around Atlanta and you didn’t finish your coffee and it didn’t get cold.
The problem is cars. There are so many cars, too many cars, and they all come out at the same time. Try driving from East Cobb to Alpharetta at rush hour, in the rain. There isn’t an insulated coffee mug that will keep your coffee hot that long.
Cars pollute the air, make us sick, and keep our kids and parents from going outside. Cars bump into each other and break down on roads, which instantly backs up traffic, sometimes for miles and sometimes for hours.
Cars have to stop or slow down for mattresses, ladders, and other debris in the road. Cars have to stop or slow down for never ending road repair and expansion.
Cars are very expensive to buy, to fuel, and to maintain.
Cars don’t do so well in bad weather. My friend from Nebraska brags that bad weather doesn’t slow him down; it’s all those other cars that aren’t moving that is the problem.
Electric cars don’t pollute and require minimum maintenance but they take up space on the road, bump into other cars, and don’t make the commute faster.
What is the solution? If driving around in our cars wasn’t so time-consuming, we would have time to sit down on our living room floor, cross our legs, close our eyes, and visualize our transportation solution.
What about widening roads? No, that just attracts more cars (see the example of widening Georgia Highway 400) which creates more accidents, breakdowns, and makes the commute worse than it was before. If kudzu was taking over your backyard, would you fight it by planting more kudzu?
WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO? We are addicted to asphalt and we don’t want anything else. We want more and more of that sticky black stuff. We can’t live without that morning and afternoon rush. We need to feel the road rage starting to boil in our veins.
Take another deep breath. Relax. Focus on solutions.
We need an attractive solution that gets cars off the roads to make driving, even at rush hour, a better experience.
We need a solution that is flexible, so that we can add capacity without more pollution, more construction, and massive expenditures.
We need a solution that works for most of us, since no solution works for all of us, all of the time.
Do you see it now? A commuter train that when it is full just adds another car and then another car. A commuter train that when it reaches its maximum capacity of cars, another train is added. We don’t have to invent a new technology, just use and improve one that already works.
Do you see a new, glittering, non-polluting CCT bus? Is it taking your neighbors to Cumberland Mall, The Avenue, Publix, or to the commuter train station? Do you see your two-car garage with only one car in it?
If you see floating commuter trains, double decked roads, or tunnels under Atlanta, you are ready for a career writing science fiction. Go to a writer’s seminar, not a transportation forum.
For the adults sitting cross legged in the room, exhale, and talk reasonably to your neighbors and co-workers.
Make a solution possible.