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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

USA cancels highway-widening project, looking for alternatives like public transport

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Looking at the constantly increasing traffic in the USA, rather than focusing on similar projects like widening the roads time and again, and developing multi-layer roads, and flyovers, the country is now looking for other alternatives. The opinion has been forming which states that widening the roads repeatedly is not a permanent solution. The government is under pressure as well. Issuing guidelines, the Federal Government has stated that rather than expanding the roads, focus should be kept on their betterment.

President Joe Biden’s administration has suggested that the states should think about something else other than widening the roads to deal with the traffic. And now, the attempts at finding alternate solutions have yielded some results. Last year, the project of expanding the Route 710 in California’s Los Angeles was stalled. The Environment Agency said that the project of widening roads is against the Federal Clean Air Act. Widening a highway will lead to an increased emission of green house gases, and the people in the nearby areas will have to be rehabilitated.

Back in 2015, widening a 10-KM area from Interstate 405 in the USA cost 8100 crore rupees, following which people gained respite from traffic jams for some years, and the time taken to travel got reduced. But when the people got to know that this highway reduces the time travelled, they quit public transport and started using their cars, and despite being longer, people chose this way.

Professor Susan Handy, Environment Scientist, University of California, has opined that if a cost of a product is less, its demand and use among the people increases, and this is what is happening with widening the roads as well. This whole ideology is increasing the traffic. As per a 2009 study, with a 1% increase in the road’s capacity, the number of cars on the road goes up by 1% after a few years as well.

Sonakshi Datta
Sonakshi Datta
Journalist who wants to cover the truth which others look the other way from.

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