Study: US faces constant Labor Day-like traffic in coming decades

Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety

US map of future traffic congestion

With Labor Day weekend upon our American readers, many of you have probably loaded up your vehicles for the last road trip of the summer. But with Labor Day weekend comes traffic. Lots and lots of traffic. And while the Labor Day scrum is generally as bad as things get for the year, a study by the US Travel Association reports that a number of freeways across the country are in danger of heavily increased traffic levels becoming the new normal.

As originally reported on The Car Connection, Americans may be driving less, but the number of cars on our roads is outpacing that decline, which in turn places greater stress on the interstate network. Take Interstate 96, the freeway that runs from downtown Detroit to Grand Rapids, as an example. The only major cities on that east-west road, besides its termini, is the state capital, Lansing. But during Labor Day weekend, its traffic volume increases 154 percent. The USTA warns that unless a project is started quickly, the increased traffic flow will become the norm by 2030.

The USTA also analyzed 15 other major interstates, including three different stretches of I-95 on the country’s east coast, I-5 between Los Angeles and San Diego, I-45 between Dallas and Houston and I-15 between southern California and Las Vegas. Each route was at risk of anywhere from 117- to 159-percent increases in traffic flow by 2040. See the map above for more examples.

All of that sounds pretty daunting, but we also have to wonder if advances in vehicle-to-vehicle communications and autonomous technology over the same period will go a long way toward increasing average traffic speeds by greatly reducing accidents while safely increasing traffic density through platooning.

Either way, scroll down to take a look at the complete study.

Continue reading US faces constant Labor Day-like traffic in coming decades

US faces constant Labor Day-like traffic in coming decades originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 31 Aug 2013 10:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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BMW Z4 Roadster to be first four-cylinder offered on U.S. shores in decades

Filed under: Convertible, Technology, BMW

2011 bmw z4

2011 BMW Z4 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Forced-induction, four-cylinder engines and small cars go together likes punch and pie. BMW understands this, and the automaker has officially announced that the Z4 is the first U.S. model to get its new turbocharged mill. This marks the first time in decades that BMW is bringing a four-banger to U.S. shores. Fans of the 2002, rejoice.

The BMW Z4 sDrive28i Roadster will serve up its engine bay for the new turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four. Output is rated at 240-horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 260 pound-feet of torque, which arrives at just 1,250 rpm. Using a combination of direct-injection, BMW’s Valvetronic intake management and a twin-scroll turbo allows the engine to produce V6 power with I4 efficiency. BMW expects to see a 20 percent improvement in fuel efficiency compared to the outgoing motor. The eight-speed automatic transmission will also certainly help the Z4 in the fuel economy fight.

No word yet on pricing or a date when we can see the turbocharged Z4 sitting in dealer showrooms. Click past the jump to read the full press release.

Gallery: 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive30i

2011 BMW Z4 sDrive30i2011 BMW Z4 sDrive30i2011 BMW Z4 sDrive30i2011 BMW Z4 sDrive30i2011 BMW Z4 sDrive30i

[Source: BMW]

Continue reading BMW Z4 Roadster to be first four-cylinder offered on U.S. shores in decades

BMW Z4 Roadster to be first four-cylinder offered on U.S. shores in decades originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 18 Apr 2011 14:26:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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