Beating Traffic: Time to Get Unstuck explores why, when and how congestion occurs, the part that you play in it, and what you and your family can do to reduce the negative effects of traffic congestion on your lives. Traffic congestion is not a pre-ordained state of affairs, and it is not you and I and the other car drivers who should have to live with it or bear the sole responsibility for fixing it. Decades of often well-meaning but horribly bad planning, and the conscious exploitation of real estate, have lead to most things being in the wrong place, too far from where everybody is and where everybody wants to go, so that the only way to get anywhere is to climb in the car and join the endless queues along the highways and local streets.
There are no quick fixes to the problem. Congestion charging is being promoted in many of the world’s major cities as the ultimate solution. But turning the right of driving a car enjoyed by anyone into a privilege enjoyed only by those who can afford to pay the tolls charged by governments will only serve to increase the already wide chasm between the haves and the have-nots in the world. There are fairer and more equitable means to ration road space, and these are explored in this book.
While we are actively promoting real, long-term solutions to traffic congestion by supporting politicians who are serious about reconciling mobility and environmental sustainability, we can work on removing the inconvenience and irritation that it causes us on a daily basis. We can start by getting ourselves and our children out of our cars more often and onto the sidewalks, the bicycle paths and public transportation. We need to do our part to reduce harmful emissions by buying and driving responsibly, and we need to help stop the thousands of deaths and millions of injuries caused each year on our streets and highways by respecting the rules of the road and never driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
There are positive and concrete actions we can take to beat traffic, and you will read about them in Beating Traffic.