Surge of Road Building? Thanks but I Wanted a Bus

Radio news told me yesterday that my state is going to spend a gajillion dollars and 15 years building new lanes on congested interstates. This seems an exercise in futility – the roads they plan to expand already have four lanes on each side. All those previous lane additions have filled up with even more automobiles.

http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/tennessee-s-surge-road-improvements-also-brings-lots-construction

I wrote the following on the radio news’ website:

“I want effective bus routes to relieve congestion. I want to get on the bus at the corner of my street and get off a bus 15 miles later, up the street from my office. I want bus and I want news of light rail corridors being added so that I can get around town without having to fire up a single-unit combustion engine, waste a bunch of gasoline, and go it alone to fight traffic.

If I need to get from my house in Murfreesboro to my allergist’s office in Franklin and want to use our current mass transit, the Metro website tells me it would take two and a half days. That it stupid.

Nashville and its surrounds are one of the largest cities in the richest country on Earth. We should have a transit system that puts the rest of the world to shame, where each of us could travel in comfort and ease instead of taking our chances head-to-head against lunatics on the road.

Buses and trains are 1000% safer than automobiles. Adding bus routes would not cause 15 years worth of construction delays, it would just relieve congestion.”

I did not fact check the actual safety percentage of bus and train versus automobile. But the National Safety Council report for 2015 says, “38,300 people were killed on U.S. roads in 2015, and roughly 4.4 million sustained injuries that resulted in medical consultations”.

http://www.newsweek.com/2015-brought-biggest-us-traffic-death-increase-50-years-427759

http://asirt.org/initiatives/informing-road-users/road-safety-facts/road-crash-statistics

https://journalistsresource.org/studies/environment/transportation/comparing-fatality-risks-united-states-transportation-across-modes-time

Basically, each American has a 1 in 6,800 chance of dying in a car wreck each year. If I calculated correctly, you are 97% more likely to die if you drive rather than take a commuter bus or train. And that actually includes the drivers of those buses and trains. One quarter of commuter bus and train deaths are actually just the drivers.

Sure, people need to drive. I get it and I like driving, too. But I get no thrill or sense of rugged individualism from a boring commute to work. And now, for the privilege of continuing this tedious drive, I will have to deal with years of construction getting in my way instead of just catching a quick bus ride.

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