As the population of the United States dramatically increases and the
number of vehicles on the nation's roads and highways skyrockets, new methods of
traffic control and organization have become necessary, by utilizing new methods
of transportation or by revising the current system. In the past 15 years, the
number of vehicles on American roads has increased 41.9%, the number of licensed
drivers has increased 29.3%, but the size of the general population has only
risen 15.9% (Clark 387-404). Between the years 1975 and 1985, the number of
miles driven by Americans rose 34.6%, but the number of miles of roads increased
by only 4.4% (Doan 64).
Cars and other vehicles are an enormous cost to society, costing between
$300 billion and $700 billion per year. These expenses are caused mainly by
traffic accidents, traffic jams, and the environmental hazards created by the
large number of vehicles on the road.
Traffic accidents account for one of the major reasons that the current
techniques of traffic control need revision. Traffic jams, along with broken
cars and the lack of alternate routes, account for one half of the traffic
congestion in the United States (Clark 387-404). Although the number of traffic
accidents in the United States has slowly decreased over the past several years,
it is still alarmingly high. In 1990, approximately 7 deaths occurred for every
10,000 people in the United States due to traffic accidents (Wallich 14).
In addition, traffic jams also demonstrate the need for better methods
of traffic management. Due to both the increase of women in the work force and
the expansion of businesses to the suburbs, traffic jams have increased
dramatically over the past few years (Koepp 55). As a consequence of traffic
jams, the American population was delayed 722 million hours in 1985 (55),
costing the average citizen approximately $800 (Doan 64). In 1984, drivers,
while waiting in their cars during traffic jams,... [continues]
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