City Traffic Congestion

February 8, 1961

Report Outline
Transportation Predicament of Cities
Federal Role in Urban Transportation
Steps to Relieve Traffic Congestion

Transportation Predicament of Cities

Worsening of traffic congestion on city streets, despite extensive construction of motor freeways and introduction of modern traffic control measures, is apparent in almost every big American community. Municipal authorities thus are being forced to consider expansion of mass transportation facilities as a means of reducing the number of cars and the traffic jams on urban thoroughfares.

Private interests, however, are hesitant about investing large capital sums in a type of enterprise which generally has not yielded satisfactory returns in recent years, and the cities themselves have had only limited capacity to establish or extend publicly owned transit systems. The problem is complicated by doubts as to whether suburbanites, if offered swift and frequent public service, could be drawn out of their cars and into buses or trains in sufficient numbers to dispel what is fast becoming a transportation crisis. Proposals to discourage use of private automobiles in city traffic by banning them from downtown areas or by imposing special new tax levies on motorists have met stiff opposition.

Virtually all studies of urban traffic questions have concluded that the cities urgently need a balanced expansion of facilities for both private and public transportation. But there is little agreement on what constitutes a balanced program in a given situation. Effective planning is hampered by a tug-of-war between pro-automobile and pro-rapid transit groups. Fragmentation of political jurisdiction in metropolitan areas raises another obstacle.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Traffic Congestion
Jan. 26, 2018  Traffic Congestion
Aug. 27, 1999  Traffic Congestion
May 06, 1994  Traffic Congestion
Jun. 03, 1988  Gridlock in Suburbia
Feb. 08, 1961  City Traffic Congestion
Motor Vehicles
Public Transportation