Traffic Gridlock, Endless Population Growth

Published on October 30th, 2014

From my own experiences in traffic in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Houston, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Beijing, Shanghai, Atlanta, San Francisco and dozens of other overpopulated cities, gridlocked traffic causes more deaths, more tension, more suffering and more emotional misery than yet understood.

It defeats the human spirit with endless failure to move forward. One can be killed or maimed at any moment by the actions of someone in another automobile. Drivers fume in their seats, while their cars fume-up the biosphere. Gridlocked traffic worsens by the year as humanity grows its collective population by 80 million annually. It’s a problem that can never be solved as long as humans refuse to address the root cause.

More People equal more cars

In Denver, Colorado, where I live, gridlocked traffic accounts for 20 to 30 crashes every day of the workweek. To put Denver’s traffic into a few words: an exasperating and daily living-nightmare.

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, car crashes occur every minute of the day. In the United States, there are more than 5.6 million crashes annually (2012). These result in more than 30,000 deaths and more than 1.6 million injuries.

Canada Free Press reported, “Here’s one way to get attention: traffic deaths worldwide kill the equivalent number of people as would perish in nine jumbo jet crashes every day.”

Today China is the No. 1 car market in the world. In China, vehicle ownership is 14 times the number a decade ago, with 18 million passenger vehicles sold last year. There’s unimaginable gridlock on the roads. In 2010, China reported a 62-mile-long traffic jam that took nine days to resolve. Motorists ran out of gas and water while stuck in traffic.

Still the most populous country in the world, China adds more than 6 million people to its population annually via “population momentum.” So perhaps not surprisingly, China is expected to have the most growth in oil consumption by 2030 to 17.5 million barrels per day (up from 2012 by 8 Mb/d), overtaking the world’s current biggest oil consumer, the U.S., at 18.9 M/bd, but where consumption is expected to drop.

Why won’t global leaders meet in a world conference to deal with the environmental, social and mega-city consequences we humans created around the planet? When we see such enormous traffic gridlock, why do we think building more roads, highways and expressways will solve the problem?

As our civilization adds another 138 million people driving cars by mid-century, what’s your solution?

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