Giving Highways New Life

The author of this article offers a few ideas on how to better use our 46,000 miles of highway. From the integration of rail lines to the development of electricity distribution grids, the interstate has more potential than it seems.
January 22, 2009, 9am PST | Judy Chang
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"Say we reimagine the interstate system so that it becomes not just a route for cars and trucks but an intermodal-transportation-and-energy corridor. That should be incentive enough to rethink the nature of development around highway interchanges. Anyone who has done any long-distance driving harbors deep ambivalence about these provisional places. Yes, they're specifically designed to allow you to get off the highway, gas up, use the restroom, grab a?burger, and continue onward with the fewest possible complications. Some of these interchanges have grown into what Joel Garreau called "edge cities"-dense, traffic-clogged jumbles of shopping centers, of-fices, and hotels. These asphalt landscapes now rep­resent planning ideas so discredited that even commercial developers don't much care for them."

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Published on Wednesday, January 21, 2009 in Metropolis Magazine
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