National Geographic : 1979 Jan
Choking traffic. Wasted fuel. The cure-mass transit or better free ways? Transportation uses 25% of America's energy. Vital oil some day to run low. Importing is al ready a national dollar drain. One approach is conserve. Now. Good place to start: 60 million au tomobile commuters too often stalled in traffic. Statistically just over one rider per car. No wonder thoughtful people call for more public transit with 45 passenger bus efficiencies or pollution-free, electric power economy. But mass transit routes can't go where everyone wants. And there's the inconvenience. Walk ing to the stop. Waiting. Crowd ing. Bad weather. Consequently, 8 out of 10 American workers drive, clogging the streets as they go. So, other good minds conclude better traffic flow is the answer. They say, "Complete beltways to bypass traffic, finish inner city freeways. Improve expressways. Persuasive arguments. Who's right? Probably both. Public transportation is efficient. Free traf fic flow cuts waste, aggravation. Really, no one mode answers all needs. Rail or bus systems work fine in some situations. People in Washington, D.C., say their new Metro is the best thing to happen in years. Other cities turn to bus transit or mini buses. But ultimately facilities must also be maintained for salesmen, shoppers, repairmen, fire trucks, ambulances, car pools. Motor vehicles, too, are critical to the cities' vitality. Free flowing traffic must be part of our nation's trans poration and energy planning. Caterpillar machines build all forms of transportation facilities. We believe efficient urban trans poration is critical to the nation's well-being. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices. W CATERPILLAR Caterpillar, Cat and [Bare Trademarks of Caterpillar Tractor Co.