Planners Tackle Traffic Congestion to Fort Meade – WAMU 88.5

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Paul is communications director for Mobility Lab. He specializes in storytelling and editing, as well as environmental and pop-culture issues related to transportation.
November 27, 2012

Planners are looking for ways to improve the commute for the more than 56,000 people who currently work at Fort Meade in central Maryland.

A top transportation planner at Fort Meade says there are a couple possible strategies to consider to reduce regional traffic congestion. One would be to build major highways at an estimated cost of $50 billion over 25 years. A second option is to use “transportation demand management,” which is another way of saying increasing car pooling, rail and bus use.

A worst-case scenario of traffic congestion, this one in Bangladesh.

Howard Jennings is a lead researcher at Arlington-based Mobility Lab, which specializes in commuter services. He says a multipronged approach is more feasible and less expensive than laying down miles of asphalt.

“Experience has shown that over the years if you build a highway, usually it is going to fill up in just a few years, and we can cite many examples of that,” says Jennings.

He favors the “transportation demand” approach, which encourages more telecommuting. Add all these measures up, and Jennings says there will be significantly fewer single-occupant vehicles on the roads around Fort Meade.

“Peoples’ commutes are very individualized,” says Jennings. “There is no one-size-fits-all. We find that when offering up options to people, they will self-select what will work for them.”

Jennings says what would work near Fort Meade, where the typical commuter now travels 20 miles alone in a car, would work around any of the region’s 20 major job centers that hold 40 percent of the region’s jobs.

This was originally published by WAMU, the NPR affiliate in Washington D.C. The news story was based on this article by Jean Friedberg on Mobility Lab.

Photo by joiseyshowaa

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avatar Paul Mackie December 5, 2012 at 11:47 AM

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