For 30 years the metropolitan Washington region has lived with traffic congestion and gridlock. So what could or should be done?
One suggestion is to expand the highway infrastructure at considerable cost and inconvenience for the commuting public. Another is to expand public transit. Another is to attempt to save the environment by doing nothing, and in the process destroy the quality of life. But a fourth option could help reduce traffic congestion: telecommuting.
The personal computer, Internet, e-mail and rapid electronic file transfer have made obsolete the requirement for many employees to be present for face-to-face communications at the workplace five days a week.
The largest employer in the area is the federal government. How often have we commuted to work on a workday that happens to be a federal workers' holiday--or the day after Thanksgiving--and found the ride free of congestion and gridlock? Finding a parking space? No sweat.
This is a simple proposal. Get the federal workers off the highways if they don't have to be there. Establish management controls, give the workers Internet access, and let them do their jobs. Production would increase, morale would improve and road rage, workplace rage and aggressive driving would decrease.
Latchkey kids could become a thing of the past. Juvenile delinquency, truancy and drug and alcohol abuse among minors might even be reduced.
Telecommuting alone is not the answer, but combined with the other transportation management strategies it can help reduce, if not eliminate, congestion and gridlock.
JAMES M. DAVIS