Monday, April 2, 2007

Gadabout Hates Traffic Signals and wants to save the world




Gadabout Jack is incensed concerning poorly timed traffic signals in cities, and how these antiquated systems are wasting billions of dollars in fuel, contributing to green house gas emissions and causing agitation to already frustrated drivers. If you have ever stopped at just about every red light on your way to the office, feeling the blood pressure in you heart pump to extreme levels, then you might want to stay with me.

America’s traffic signals received a poor grade of D-, according to the findings of the 2005 National Traffic Signal Report Card, a report published by the National Transportation Operations Coalition (NTOC). This report concludes that if municipalities upgraded their traffic signals and surveillance related equipment that a savings of 25% in commuting time, a 10% fuel consumption reduction (18 billion gallons of motor fuel), and a 22% percent reduction in harmful greenhouse gas emissions could be achieved.

Okay, where is the outrage? Why isn’t our neurotic ex vice president Gore out there hammering city government? 18 billion gallons of gas is no insignificant amount. Heck, saving half that amount over the next 10 years would make a lasting impression with our national goals of efficiencies. Why? Because it is easier to take aim and pull the trigger on General Motors, a corporate giant, guilty of many crimes against humanity, than to place blame on thousands hometown heroes, housing millions of bona fide voters. It would be like trying to herd angry cats—it’s just not going to work. GM is an easy target, and the thousands of municipalities across the fruited plain may have their feelings hurt if someone, or some organization, were to point out that their traffic engineers and road systems suck, and are the true culprits of global warming. And spending precious tax revenues on traffic lights won’t cure world hunger, won’t recognize a teacher of the year, and is simply not sexy enough to hold anyone’s attention. This is a shame, eternal shame!

So, we need better roads, so let’s increase taxes by use of tolls to pay for them! Bad idea! Toll roads have their place in contained venues where their use can be helpful, but they usually fail miserably in safety, fuel efficiencies and in raising revenues. Toll roads are typically 50% efficient. That is, for every dollar collected, only 50 cents is left over for use after personnel costs, equipment and administration overhead are covered. Conversely, an increase in the gas tax would be 100% efficient since it is already in place and no additional administrative support structures would be required. The problem is that our elected elite don’t want to raise taxes, because they want to be reelected, and for some strange reason the inclusion of toll roads is not considered a new tax—it is a toll! Come on, get with the program.

You want save money at the pump, reduce green house emissions and spend less time commuting? Then start recognizing what waste looks like, stop bashing GM, say no to tolls (my God they do suck), and demand better city management. Do I have to save the planet all by myself? Get off your lazy butts and start making America a better place to live.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are on an environmental kick these days. I agree that GM is not the problem. Local governments are responsible for the stop lights in their jurisdictions and they should be more spring loaded to upgrade the signals. But they should also look at mass transit and traffic patterns to accomodate the population.

Gadabout Jack said...

Mass transit in Hampton Roads is a tough sell...and VERY expensive. I like the idea of BIG rail that can provide an alternate route to DC and NY, but I remain open to a general discussion of ALL options.

The Melvin said...

To hold municipalities responsible for their role in global warming would be to reduce it to the acts of individuals. I think we can all agree that personal responsibility for ones actions has never been on Mr. Gore's agenda....haha

I'm no blogger but for those who know me and would like to keep up, you can catch me at...
www.themelvinsspace.com

Gadabout Jack said...

Gadabout knows that when The Melvin speaks, all should take note.

Slag said...

Hey Gadabout, Don't forget that syncing the lights would also reduce "T-bone" accidents much more effectively than stop light cameras do!

Gadabout Jack said...

Slag is indeed correct. I routinely run red lights and have had a few close calls. Everyone is, indeed, a Safety Officer.

Anonymous said...

I think the world, let me rephrase, the USA is quickly reaching its "critical mass." With all of these types of issues, Traffic Lights, Green House, Liberals living in half truths, Thumping "noise" not music coming from vehicles, pants half way down your ass, etc. people are going to start taking matters into their own hands and disregard the humanity derived laws and rules; we'll be back in the gun slinging 1800's in no time.

Gadabout Jack said...

Anonymous,
When they outlaw guns, then only the outlaws will have guns. Keep up the comments!
Gadabout