The 48,876 miles of national highways consume 1% of the land in the U.S., which is about the size of South Carolina. This network conceived our sprawling land use habits, extended our commutes and expanded our waistlines. In Los Angeles, the nation’s capital of traffic jams, the average person loses 93 hours yearly sitting in highway traffic.
Despite all this, we Americans love our cars. Our highways continue to be the most relied upon method of transit and there is no doubt about the essential role of highways in our economic progress. But populations are growing and demand for repairs and expansions are increasing, so how can we live with our highway system in ways that are less intrusive to our humanity?
As Angelenos, we consider this question daily and it has inspired us to look for examples that we might be able to apply here. As the transfer of development rights brings higher land values, the promise of these corridors has to go beyond functionality. Perhaps the future of the freeway is not single-use, but more of a conveyance system for people and wildlife as well as cars. Our research has uncovered a handful of case studies, exploratory proposals and student ideas that we are going to profile here and discuss on our Facebook page during the month of March.
We invite you to share your thoughts on these, suggest similar projects and concepts or add your own ideas.