National Geographic : 1973 Sep
In most of our cities, one form of transportation can't keep everybody happy. The problem remains: how do we keep every body moving? Rail mass transit can move lots of people quickly. San Fran cisco's BART system covers 28 miles in 33 minutes including station stops. The same trip takes a rush-hour motorist over an hour. Such trains are clean and quiet. But they won't fit every city. They operate in a fixed line within heavily popu lated areas. Buses work better in most cities. They can pick up people closer to home, take them more places easily. But both buses and trains in urban systems depend on high ridership and ever-increasing fares to meet expenses. As a re sult, few mass transit systems pay their own way. Is the answer more express ways? 86% of all city workers commute by car. Add trucks and other vehicles to that con gestion and it's no wonder some cities are considering limiting cars downtown. But even if that happens, expressways must con tinue to play an important role in total urban transportation problems. Almost 100% of the goods and services city dwellers depend on move by motor vehicle. No single answer is "right." City planners must evaluate al ternatives and investigate ap proaches like "dial-a-bus," jit neys and other people-movers. The optimum solution must be multi-modal transportation whose components are dictated city by city. No generalization can accommodate every need, every city. All cities urgently need to develop and execute a total urban transportation plan. Not just for today, but tomor row. To learn more about urban transportation write "Mobility," Dept. 3075, Caterpillar Tractor Co., Peoria, Ill. 61602. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices.