Chet Skwarcan is an award-winning engineer, writer, and industry innovator in the field of traffic engineering. He is known for leveraging his creativity, logic, and technology to solve today’s engineering challenges.

Drive on Purpose

Granted, a percentage of drivers on the road, right now, because they must be someplace at a specific time. Certain employers are usually to blame for this. These employees have no option but to drive to work during the busiest part of the day. In traffic engineering lingo, we refer to this as the “peak hour.” You will never see a traffic engineer on the roadway during the peak hour. That’s because we have access to secret traffic data telling us when to go places so we seldom encounter another vehicle (as an example, Taco Bell at 2 a.m.).

This brings me to my point — if you must drive during peak hour, make the best of it. Listen to great music (“American Pie”) or learn a new language (sign language?). Keep in mind, “traffic engineering” can only go so far. The person behind the steering wheel is in control when it comes to reducing congestion — the power to flatten the curve (as they say).

So why are there (sometimes) so many cars on the road? Where are they all going? In other words, what is the purpose of all these trips? Nobody knows. But, assuming the trip is essential, how can we reduce the distance between where you are and where you need to go? There’s only one way — make it shorter. And the way you make it shorter is to bring your destination closer to your origin. You can either live closer to where you work and shop or provide opportunities to work and shop closer to where you live.

It all comes down to the purpose of the trip. If you work for an employer who expects you to show up on time, so be it. But for the rest of us, buy your groceries and make your appointments when traffic is light, or, better yet, shorten the distance between where you live and where you work and shop. Heck, maybe you could even walk to work from where you live (but don’t walk to the gas station — that doesn’t make sense).

Chet Skwarcan (traffic engineer, author, unique insights) with over 25 years of traffic engineering experience — online help available at