Going nowhere fast

Driving in Boston. The mere phrase can evoke many strong emotions ranging from confusion, rage and fear to a general sense of hopelessness. These reactions often stem from our “you can’t get there from here,” non-linear streets.

Lately, though, these feelings are just as likely to be caused by our ever-growing traffic crisis. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about our horrible traffic situation recently because I’ve spent so much time in it.

It’s not just my opinion – a recent survey showed Boston moved up in the worst traffic rankings from 21st to 9th.

Luckily, many of our best and brightest minds are thinking about how to alleviate the situation:

North South Railroad project:

Led by former Governor Dukakis, this effort proposes building a tunnel to connect North and South Stations, linking the two sides of the city – and the whole region – by expanding commuter rail service. I know of at least one car this project would get off the road (mine).

Bridj:

A kind of “bus on demand” system, Bridj was started as a way to get more public transportation into areas of the city that are not easily linked. Currently in beta, they use data to assess transportation patterns and create routes that support demand.

Alternate transportation:

The smart folks across the river at MIT’s Media Lab City Science project are working on alternate forms of transportation. Incorporating a variety of ideas like carpooling and bike sharing, they are pro-typing shared vehicle concepts.

Bike sharing:

The city’s Hubway system has provided a low-cost, convenient bike sharing system around the city. But has it reduced the number of cars on the narrow, winding streets?

I haven’t come up with too many ideas myself, beyond banning tourist trolleys and 18 wheelers within city limits during rush hour.

Share your ideas in the comments.

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