Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Frustrated Traffic Engineer

Many people ask me what my dream job is... I reply that I'd love to design and build roads, to which they say, isn't that what you do? Well the cold truth is that although I am an Engineer that is involved with the design, construction and management of the highway, it is becoming increasingly rare to be able to do what I originally got into the industry to do, that is, build roads...

Perhaps I've missed the golden age of road building, perhaps my aspirations are higher than the reality of life, but I'm often at odds with what I say in private and what I say to the public. As each year goes by, we are increasingly faced with more congestion on our roads, we spend more time in traffic queues that seemingly have no cause. We have more comfortable and powerful cars than ever before, yet we are more frustrated by the steel cage that we call a car.

I've become more mindful of the concept that perhaps traffic congestion has become too difficult for simpletons to understand and too costly for the tax payer to fund... so where do we go? We have a choice, we either continue into the black hole that we are currently heading, or we look to box clever and develop a vision for our children to inherit. I'm not simply talking about a big master plan for building new roads, I'm thinking about all aspects of our lives and how we use transport, how we shop and how we socialise. Transport is at the heart of modern day life, we need to embrace the reality that personal transport is here to stay, that short local trips could be made on foot, that anything over half a mile, for most, the car is the first choice and that public transport can only be a success when the alternatives are vastly more inconvenient and expensive.

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