Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The great paradox of Silicon Valley traffic

This item from Silicon Valley's Mercury News reporting on increased traffic congestion as a propitious sign the economy is picking up speed is thick with irony. An excerpt:

Santa Clara County's busiest bottleneck -- where Highway 101 splits Interstates 280 and 680 -- featured more vehicles in 2011 than ever during an average day, according to Caltrans data. The most heavily traveled stretch on the Peninsula, Highway 101 in San Mateo, set a record last year for rush hour vehicle counts after an extra traffic lane was added to meet the demand.
The irony?  Over the past three decades, Silicon Valley companies revolutionized information technology that makes it possible to work and conduct most business remotely from most anywhere and at any time without the need to commute to a central office during set time schedules, feeding the burgeoning "rush hour" traffic.  Yet thousands of people are working as if none of it ever happened and it's still 1975. 

Authors William A. Draves and Julie Coats provide an explanation in their 2004 book Nine Shift.  Silicon Valley invented what they term the Internet Age.  But that invention was produced by Industrial Age companies.  They predict suburbs and commuting -- vestiges of the Industrial Age -- will go into decline during the first two decades of the 21st century, mirroring a two-decade-long shift from a primarily agrarian society to an industrial one during the first 20 years of the 20th century.

No comments:

Web Analytics