As a practitioner in the field of transportation, I was intrigued by Henry Allen's article "Driving Us Crazy: The Anatomy of a Traffic Jam" {Style, Oct. 21}.

I wonder if we are not in danger of becoming too familiar with the issue of traffic congestion, whereby we focus on the comprehension rather than the correction of the problem. Perhaps we are being numbed into complacency by trying too hard to cope with the problem. Do we really want to equip our automobiles with the likes of FAX machines and two-line telephones so as to make waiting in traffic more productive? Does understanding the esoteric intricacies of the Q/K curve really make us more comfortable as we inch around the Beltway?

Traffic congestion is a disease that is both treatable and preventable. We must not allow ourselves to learn to live with the pain, but we must find the proper remedy. The focus has to be on people rather than vehicles.

The single-occupant automobile, which makes up 95 percent of the Q/K curve observations, is simply spatially inefficient for an urban area such as ours. We must look at alternatives.

Montgomery County has some of the most advanced and creative transportation and land-use programs in the nation. Through ride-sharing we get more efficient use of highways. The county's various transit promotion programs encourage people to take the bus or subway, and it has land-use policies that locate jobs and housing so as to minimize trip making.

But this is of no comfort to a motorist facing a sea of red taillights on I-270. The explanation for this congestion does not lie in the Q/K curve. What is needed is not an equation in fluid dynamics, but comprehension and cooperation by all parties (citizens, politicians and bureaucrats) that this problem can be beaten. Let the dynamics of the Q/K curve be reserved for the graduate school classroom. What the public must know is that with its support solutions are available.

JOHN J. CLARK Director Office of Planning and Project Development Montgomery County Government Bethesda