Question of the Day: Separate But Equal Roads?

Jonny Lieberman
by Jonny Lieberman

A friend of mine works for the GAO (Government Accountability Office) out here in the City of Angels. As cracking the traffic nut in Los Angeles is the Gordian Knot of our time, he hears a lot of supposed "solutions." Sadly, most involve toll roads. However, one we've discussed that I like is the idea of separate roads for semi trucks. More specifically, all cargo coming into San Pedro and Long Beach gets trained up to near Union station where it is then picked up by waiting trailers that then drive off on rig-only roads. With no passenger cars to get in their way, the semis could haul three trailers. Flipside: with no big rigs clogging the freeways, traffic would roll. Furthermore, as 100 percent of all non-weather road damage is caused by 18-wheelers, public roads would last much, much longer and be shuttered less often for repairs. Win/win, if you ask me. Though, there is that up front cost… Still, I think it's a fantastic plan. Now, we just get another series of roads in place for anything with two-wheels and we're in business. What do you think?

Jonny Lieberman
Jonny Lieberman

Cleanup driver for Team Black Metal V8olvo.

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  • T2 T2 on Aug 07, 2008

    “Though mass transit could have been done better in spite of our distances. The former US auto industry played a major role in the lack of a mass transit/rail system in this country. There are entirely too many trucks on our highways (one engine per box) and entirely too few cargo trains (one engine per 50 boxes) on our albeit limited railways.” the above written by one of our posters here is a good observation. My suggestion is to nationalise the rail lines mostly just the major routes, but not the rolling stock. Then the track maintenace would become a Federal responsibility, just as the paved roads are. Then invite trucking companies to set up intermodal facilities with their own rolling stock. Computers would control traffic with speeds limited to 40mph. Rail crossings could also be set up like conventional intersections but with look-ahead sensors as before so trains needn’t stop. Limit trains to hauling ten railcars so that much lower cost tractor units could be employed and thus encourage a competitive environment for new entrants. T2

  • Beelzebubba Beelzebubba on Aug 07, 2008

    The traffic issues in L.A. and Atlanta are the worst in the nation according to several different sources including Forbes and CNN. Atlanta was actually ranked the absolute worse large city for commuters, even worse than L.A. Having lived all my 33-years in Metro Atlanta, I've got a head of gray hair and Xanax prescription to support that claim- driving here SUCKS!!! Semi-trucks may play some role in the traffic issues entering and leaving the city, but I attribute FAR more of the problem to people that are just too freakin' stupid to drive! Whether it's lack of driver's eduction and training, disregard for fellow drivers or maybe mental retardation...but I can spot at least ten "problem drivers" during my 83-mile round trip commute each day. By far, the two offenses that I see over and over countless times are- 1) Having no concept or understanding of the phrase "slower traffic keep right" and instead parking against the wall of the left lane of a 7-lane interstate poking along at 55mph while all the lanes to the right move faster than you! 2) Apparently, a substantial number of motorists here do not bother to look ahead and attempt to anticipate if any change in speed or lane is needed. They must forget that those on-ramps they pass every single day will likely have cars on them that need to merge into the traffic flow. Rather than adjusting speed or changing lanes to allow them to merge, they completely ignore them until they either slam on the brakes OR force the merging traffic into the shoulder/emergency lane of the highway. Seriously....the driving test should be MUCH more difficult. I like to believe that the dumbest of people will weed themselves out eventually, but I don't want them to off me in the process!!!

  • Findude Findude on Aug 07, 2008

    Let's just use trucks for the final, local delivery loop. It is much more efficient and economical to ship by rail.

  • Jerseydevil Jerseydevil on Aug 07, 2008

    we can't even take care of the roads and bridges we have now.... i think we should invest instead in more and better rail systems for freight. PS, the Garden State Parkway in Jersey doesn't have truck only lanes, however the Jersey Turnpike does for about half its length as it nears New York City. Or better put, it has car only lanes. The highway splits into two parts, cars only on the left side, and no restrictions on the right side. As for traffic jams, i find that barring an accident, both sides carry about the same amount of traffic. If there is a problem on one set of lanes, one can move to the other if in a car, so they are always about even. Also understand that this is wildly expensive in terms of construction, real estate and management, and that the tolls are kinda high, and due to get higher. And in Jersey, there is simply no more room for even more highways - anywhere. We are full. I doubt that there will be any more major highway consturction in the entire Northeast corridor anywhere. At least I hope not.