A city’s traffic jam is made up of many factors.
You have your private cars driven by everyday people — you and me. You have public transportation, such as bus service, subways and elevated trains. Then you have to factor in sedan services, taxis and, now, Uber drivers and other ride-sharing companies.
There are many moving parts that affect traffic flow in a city.
Traffic gridlock is major quality of life issues. It causes air pollutions and adds hours people spend in their cars. As nice as our cars are today, in some cities people feel like they are living in their autos during rush-hour traffic.
Obviously, electric cars will help with air pollution and our dependence on imported oil. Even ride-sharing apps, not the ones that create taxi-like services, will enable people to gain access to cars on demand. Even today, ride-sharing apps are reducing the number of cars on the road and alleviating the parking-space crunch in many cities.
Driverless cars, if you believe they will become consumer ready in our lifetime, may also reduce accidents and ease rush-hour traffic jams because they will follow driving rules. Their ability ability to communicate with other cars enables them travel like an army platoon marching from city to city. Imagine a row of cars driving in perfect unison. The BBC reported that one estimate says that traffic flow could improve by nearly 50 percent.
Mass transit also will play a role in solving future traffic jams.
Miami is now experiencing major traffic gridlock because of residential construction in the past few years. Building hi-rise condos may be beautiful to live in, but they have increased the population in the city.The city is currently seeking solutions, but it won’t be easy.
Expanding Metrorail is expensive but is not a quick fix.
Synchronized traffic lights may help., as well as water buses and more bike lanes.
The impact on Miami’s quality of life is significant. One national study says Miami drivers will be in their cars an additional 47 hours per year. Also, the study reports 1.9 billion pound of carbon dioxide are spewing from the vehicles at peak traffic times.
Urban areas are discouraging single-occupant cars. Ride-sharing websites have been popping up to let people share rides, not just for driving to work, but also for trips. Car clubs are also on the rise. They allow people to “rent” cars, which are strategically placed throughout the city, for short periods of time.
One website reported that more than 30 percent of city gridlock is caused when drivers are looking to park their vehicles. This is where smart-parking comes in. Sensors relay to drivers that a parking space is available, and the driver can pay/reserve that space via their phones.
Some cities are also investing in sensors on the roads to help synchronize traffic lights to ease gridlock.
Because of this gridlock, more and more people are riding busses, trains and subways. Ridership in some cities is at the highest it has been since the 1950s. Because of this, LA is investing billions to build/extend five rail lines. The carpool lane also may no longer be just for people sharing a ride. In order to help pay for road construction, drivers will be able to pay a toll to drive in the HOV lanes, which often are empty.
There are many solutions being discussed and implemented. Since building more roads and extra lanes is not always the answer or solution, urban planners are being forced to cull together many options that will have an a cumulative positive affect.