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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See for full contents of our site

February 8, 2010


Progressive Review -  Fresh from raising serious questions about the human role in climate change, a conservative group - People for Driving - has challenged the widely-held belief that people cause traffic jams. They argue that tie-ups are the result of the natural and random ebb and flow of cars.

The argument has already raised serious problems on Capitol Hill for those pushing for more mass transit or the repair of existing roads and bridges.

PFD points out that even though approximately the same number of people live in a city during a 24 hour period, traffic congestion changes considerably. Further, traffic tie-ups greatly diminish on weekends, again with no significant change in population.

"This is a classic case of correlation being mistaken for causation," says Florie M. Megafone, director the group.

The group claims liberals are blaming humans for what is a natural and unpredictable event and, as a result, are damaging the economy and individual freedom.

Charles Olglebot of the American Automobile Association said that nothing in their research indicates that cars are present on the highway without their drivers wishing them to be there, but he admitted not to have done a study specifically aimed at this question.

Conservative critics point out a number of instances where local TV news programs grossly overestimated the seriousness of a traffic jam in order to build their audience. William Appledirth of Fox Channel 13, for example, has admitted using adjectives like "terrible," "tremendous" and "blocks-long" to describe traffic congestion even though Channel 13 lacked any scientific proof of these claims.

"We can't let this major traffic jam scandal continue," says Megafone.

Another conservative group is also looking into reports that sex isn't always necessary to have a baby. Said a spokesperson, "Liberals want to blame people for everything."- Josiah Swampoodle


Blogger Samson said...

Ok, I've got an engineering degree, and I worked as a civil engineeer. I also lived 20 years in Atlanta. All of which combines to say I'm an engineer that's spent a lot of time in traffic jams without much else to do but to observe and think.

Human actions have a lot to do with traffic jams. For instance, watch where an exit-only lane leaves the highway. In Atlanta, most drivers think the fastest way through traffic is to shoot down the exit-only lane to the very end, then cut across in front of the cars in the thru lanes.

If you watch closely, you'll see the cars in the through lane constantly coming to a stop because of cars cutting in front of them. What is faster for one particular driver is slower for all of the drivers overall. And that's not even counting the times a collision results from one car cutting suddenly in front of another.

You see the same thing when watching the cars that constantly change lanes trying to find the fastest lane. Each lane change causes other cars to stop or check up. So, one car's search for the fastest lane tends to slow overall traffic.

This doesn't even take into account the wrecks, and near wreck stops, that come from things like talking on a cell phone while driving. When that SUV driver who's talking on the cell phone realizes at the last minute that this is their exit and they serve suddenly across three lanes to get off, watch what happens to the avg speed of the cars in all of those lanes as they hit the brakes to avoid the swerving SUV. In especially heavy traffic, watch that ripple effect back far up the highway.

February 8, 2010 2:32 AM  
Blogger Samson said...

BTW, never trust local TV news for anything. They do sensationalize everything. Get your weather from the national weather service's excellent websites. And most state DOTs have traffic websites set up for high traffic urban areas.

TV News always says anything to get you to watch their stuff. The traffic is horrible, stand by for details after the break. Major snow storm coming, details tonight at 11. Since you can't trust them, just turn them off and go to the pros who don't get paid for each viewer for good info.

February 8, 2010 2:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Natural selection and physics help in Samson's aforementioned example. I live in a high rise overlooking a major freeway and Interstate junction. The SUVs cut across lanes constantly and end up rolling over. Whenever I hear the sirens, I can almost count on seeing an upside down SUV and several ambulances down below. SUVs... the myth of safety.

February 9, 2010 4:44 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Hey, even engineers should be able to identify sarcasm/satire when they read it.

February 19, 2010 4:57 PM  

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