Expect Delays

New York City's 'Gridlock Sam' explains why technology alone can't solve our traffic woes  

Loading the podcast player...

Massive gridlocks are becoming increasingly common in many big cities around the world: Shanghai, Mumbai, Paris, and Moscow to name just a few. One of the worst jams happened last August, when drivers coming into Beijing found themselves in a 100-kilometer traffic jam that lasted for 10 days. So why, despite today’s high-tech navigation technology—GPS systems, smartphones, electronic toll passes and digital highway signs—is traffic only getting worse? Host Steven Cherry talks with one of the world’s great traffic engineers, Sam Schwartz—the man who coined the very word, “gridlock” when he was a traffic engineer at the New York City Department of Transportation during the ’70s and ’80s. Schwartz served as the city’s traffic commissioner from 1982 to 1986, owns his own engineering consulting company, and writes a traffic column for the New York Daily News, where he is known as “Gridlock Sam.”

Segment producer: Ariel Bleicher; audio engineer: Francesco Ferorelli


GPS Helps Cause Traffic Jams in Ireland

Sat-nav.gif There was an interesting little story a few weeks ago in the London Telegraph about how GPS systems are causing traffic problems on the popular tourist Ring of Kerry trail between Killorgon and Kenmare. Apparently, traffic traditionally travels in a one way fashion counter-clockwise between Killorgon and Kenmare, but GPS systems are telling drivers to go clockwise instead. When tourist coaches traveling one way meet trucks coming the other, traffic bottlenecks start appearing on the narrow trail. The Killarney Town Council, the Telegraph says, wants GPS manufacturers to change …