If this country was serious about significantly reducing motor fuel consumption, it could start by redeploying the money being wasted on ticket-writing campaigns, laser guns, stealth cruisers, ticket cameras, and related wages and invest the savings in strategies to better move traffic in urban and suburban environments, where most fuel consumption actually occurs. There are huge savings to be realized by simply synchronizing and coordinating traffic signal systems. Cities that have started this process are not only reaping benefits like reduced fuel use, they are also realizing improved air quality, significantly faster commute times, far less congestion, and less wear and tear on vehicles. Removing obstacles to smooth traffic flow, including most stop signs and traffic "calming" devices, and scrapping other strategies intended to interrupt and disrupt traffic would dramatically improve fuel economy for the entire vehicle fleet.
I want to add that these strategies can be applied in a manner that actually improves the environment for pedestrians, bicyclists, and residential neighborhoods. We just need to get our collective heads out of the sand and rationally appraise our situation. Putting up arbitrary, irrational speed limit signs simply emulates the failures of the past.
- What do you think? Should a national speed limit of 55 mph become law?
- Read the case for a national speed limit, by Tim Castleman, founder of the Drive 55 Conservation Project.
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