The Future of Highways

April 19, 2017
future of highways

Why should we think about the future of highways?

The worst accidents are when a car and a tractor-trailer collide. Can you begin to comprehend the mismatch? It’s like a sumo wrestler facing off against a toddler. Or think about the motorcyclist riding behind a tractor-trailer that loses a retread (tire casing for worn tires). His bike may crash or flip if he hits that gigantic piece of rubber. The retread may lay on the highway for some time, until the gusts of wind caused by more tractor trailers blow it off. Do you want an 87,000-pound tractor-trailer on the same road as your 2,500-pound Hyundai? Well, do you want a 747 airplane on the same runway as your Cessna? It’s worth some thought.

Say you do give it some thought. You’ll inevitably ask: What could we do for the future of highways? Airports have plenty of runways, but there’s only one interstate highway system.

If we care enough about safety, we will have to redesign that system. This new interstate-style road has earthen berms to separate the east- and west-bound divided lanes. The outer two sets of lanes are for tractor-trailers only. The inner two sets host automobile traffic.
What are the advantages of this system? There are many.

  • Block noise pollution between lanes
  • Block noise pollution from affecting the surrounding countryside
  • Eliminate headlight pollution
  • Contain hazmat spills
  • Contain fires
  • Eliminate crossover accidents
  • Evacuation route: you can easily reverse direction on any of the lanes to increase traffic flow away from a natural disaster
  • Prevent rubbernecking: if you can’t see the accident in the next lane over, you won’t look at it

What are the disadvantages?

  • Cost to build: obviously, this infrastructure update would cost more than sticking with the status quo
  • Crossing over: you would only be able to cross over and change direction at designated spots
  • No billboards: well, this is a disadvantage for the billboard companies; personally, I’d like it

Some metropolitan areas already have truck highways separate from auto highways: I-5 and SR-14 in the Los Angeles area are two examples. The state of Georgia is planning to spend $2 billion to build a 38-mile-long truck highway along I-75. Extending this concept to other highways with substantial tractor-trailer traffic would reduce traffic accidents and fatalities, which sounds like a better future of highways.

Mr. Peel seeks justice for those injured in motorcycle, truck and car accidents, disability and medical malpractice. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Mr. Peel may be reached through wherein other articles may be accessed.

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