We can make our transportation infrastructure more efficient by following in the footsteps of Japan, South Korea, and others by integrating information technology. Such technology provides real-time information about traffic congestion, delays, and weather, as well as adaptive traffic signals. In essence, the technology ties cars, drivers, and traffic devices together to make transportation more efficient.
The efficiency of the transportation infrastructure depends in part on urban planning–how residential housing, services, businesses, manufacturing centers etc are built in relation to eachother. Part of the reason Americans drive so much is that they way suburbia is designed peole have to drive in order to get to work, school, or the store. First off, having mixed use development would decrease the distances between home and work; also having pedestrian and bike friendly paths would encourage more folks to leave their cars at home. Finally, public transportation is essential to increasing transportation efficiency and so encouraging the development of light rails and the maintenance of trains is essential.
One of the best ways to make our transportation infrastructure more efficient is by consistently investing money into and implementing promising technologies. Most of the technology that America uses is old compared to the rest of the world when they catch up. Since America is usually the first one to invest in such technologies they end up using the first generation technology and usually holds off on investing more money to new technologies because of the cost from the original investment.
Back when I was in Chicago we did a study. A lot of people said that they do not take mass transit because of safety. They felt scared either on the train/bus and/or when they were waiting for it, and the walk to their destination. I feel that a lot more people would take mass transit if they felt safer. Perhaps have a sheriff who travels the train, or increased video surveillance. People need something to feel safer. Once they feel safe, ridership will go up, thus causing more attention to payed to mass transit, causing more frequent trips, and better planned routes.
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