Long known as one of the most congested and least safe highways in the state, when enlightened transportation planners looked to improve U.S. 36 they didn't simply seek to add additional lanes for more vehicles. Rather, they envisioned what may be called the country's first "complete highway."
"Work has begun on an upgrade for U.S. 36 that will incorporate a special fast lane for high-occupancy vehicles, bus rapid transit service, an electronic toll system for single-occupant cars and a bike path," reports John Schwartz. "It is, in other words, a highway designed to encourage people to drive less."
"Plenty of highway upgrades around the country now include some of these features — high-occupancy-vehicle lanes are widespread, and bike lanes are popping up here and there," he adds. "In cities like Birmingham, Ala., Seattle, and Ann Arbor, Mich., the Obama administration is using federal money to help develop roadway projects that combine several ways of getting around."
"But until now, no single highway plan has pulled all of them together, said Victor M. Mendez, the head of the Federal Highway Administration. 'This innovative approach is what we’re looking for in the future,' he said. 'It’s an exciting project.'”