Traffic jams now dominate life in the world's great cities. In Los Angeles drivers inch along 12-lane expressways. In Mexico City children start school late to avoid the morning smog. Bangkok's office-workers suffocate on packed buses for an average of 2 1/2 hours a day. All of this is caused by more people crowding into big cities but more importantly because people are moving more. Most of the extra moving is done in cars. Places like New York and London have nearly one-quarter of their land area devoted to roads and have vast metro systems under them and are near their capacity to do more for the driver.
In the UK in 1994 it was estimated that the cost of traffic jams was £15 billion a year, not to mention the number of deaths associated with automobile accidents during traffic jams. The cost of traffic jams in Belgium is $375,000,000 and 25 million hours a year. Vehicles wear out faster, petrol is consumed faster and accidents increase because of traffic jams. In Los Angeles, motorists who battle congestion are exposed to between two and four times the levels of cancer-causing toxic chemicals found elsewhere outdoors.