Letters

Key factors omitted in traffic forecast
       Reading your informative ongoing series on the US 24 expansion effort, I was struck last week by how utterly presumptive and uninformed the bureaucrats (both public and corporate) are to this project and to the future. What really got me was the wild prediction of new jobs in the area or how they will or won't affect the US 24 corridor some 25 years out. Few individuals can ably predict the future in even a general sense, let alone say that so many thousands of jobs will be created. My point is this: Think back 25 years and recall what the job market was at the start of the IT and telecom revolution. During the last 25 years, the work world has fundamentally changed, grown in some areas and shrunk in others, where even now telecommuting or working at home is commonplace.
       Furthermore, can any one of those bureaucratic engineers tell me what kind of car will be predominantly used 25 years hence? Will it be all electric or fuel cell or primarily the internal combustion engine? GM is on record stating that their entire new car inventory will be either all electric or fuel cell by 2020! This is merely 13 years from now. In that light, what will it cost to commute to work each day? This in of itself will have an overarching effect on traffic congestion.
       What I am trying to say is that, not unlike the IT revolution which began in the early '80s, our society is in the beginning stages of a new economic revolution now called cleantech or greentech. Where and how it goes is unpredictable, except that companies and individuals will be greatly looking to lower their carbon footprint, including commuting to work. What, if any, of those considerations is in any of the US 24 projections? It appears we need to put the brakes on these road-building engineers until they start listening much better.

Robert Nemanich