Why no American Autobahn?

I was just wondering if the idea of an “American Autobahn” had even been explored. It seems like it would be a pretty good idea to put them between major urban centers, such as NY to Boston and such. Is the risk of accidents just too great? Is it cost prohibitive? It seems a bit late to do it now, with all the national infrastructure in place and all, but was the idea ever explored? If so what was the reasoning used against it?


Ever hear of Interstate Highways? What’s the difference?

What facet of the Autobahn do you think the U.S. doesn’t have. Eisenhower conceived the idea of the Interstate Highway System based on the Autobahn. High speed, multi-lane, divided highways with limited access.

Of course development reached out to engulf the Interstates and turn them (in urban areas) into commuter routes, but that wasn’t the original idea.

I think he’s talking high speed and not just a highway.

I have no idea why, or even if, an autobahn was thought about in the US. You could do the same thing, and Montana did somewhat, by getting rid of speed limits except around cities. I think though that there are too many problems, a large part are that people are too stupid here, especially with the lax driving laws so it’s easier to get a license. However, are there even deer and other large animals in Europe? I’d hate to imagine what it would be like to hit a deer/moose at well over 100mph.

Deer and Moose do not regularly travel over interstates.

Sorry I should have mentioned that right off the bat. Essentially, why can’t we build a point to point highway, with slightly wider lanes, less turns and no speed limit?

I don’t know about other countries, but in Sweden the major roads have fences along them to keep the critters out.

The Autobahn and Interstate system were designed for the same end, to move troops and military equipment around quickly and effeciently.

Why are there no “no-speedlimit” highways in the US? (Or Canada for that matter). Politics would be my guess. I know of the new highways being built in my province are designed for 140kph, but the speedlimit is usually 100 (sometimes, 110).

I don’t know about where you live, smiling bandit, but there are lots of areas where it’s pretty common to see deer along interstates, and lots of dead deer from being hit by cars on the highway.

Actually, it’s not that much different hitting them at 60 mph, so the point is kind of moose. uh, moot.

Doesn’t seem like there would be much difference between hitting a moose at 75 mph or 100mph, both would result in quite a mess. As far as politics, could you expand on that a little?

I’m sure someone has proposed this, and the Govt said no, and here are the reasons.

I-95 on the eastern coast has fencing in the rural areas. Small animals can get through, but I’ve never seen large animals like deer. And I’ve probably spent 10% of my life on that road.

Montana tried this a couple of years ago. No set speed limit, just the simple rule to use common sense, “Reasonable and Prudent” they called it. Evidently, no one had any common sense, cause they backed it out of the law books after a couple of years.

This site gives some info… http://www.motorists.org/pressreleases/montana.html

I saw a documentary on the Autobahn a few months back, and one of the points they brought up is that drivers over there consider driving to be an act in itself–no cell phones, eating, or anything like that. Both hands on the wheel all the time. Americans don’t exactly drive like that.

Of course, up here in Michigan, nobody pays any attention to the speed limits anyway, including the traffic cops. :wink:

Interesting link Slyver.

Most of the people I share the road with, I doubt can handle high speeds. When I drive, I pay attention to the road and to the antics of the other drivers. Based on the people I see who dash over three or four lanes because they didn’t notice the exit was coming up, the people who don’t get out of the way because they’re engrossed in their telephone conversation, or just plain clueless, plus having no experience at very high speeds, it is my opinion that they lack the skills necessary for driving “Autobahn-style”.

Also, people will sue. “My child died because you, Mr. Government, failed to put a speed limit on the road so that we’d know how fast to drive.”

SylverOne–I notice that that report had no data on the number of vehicles using the roads at various times. I would expect there would be at least a few people who would say, “Well, I’m only going to the next town; I’ll take the back road rather than pull out onto the highway were people might be doing 150 in their sports cars…” Fewer cars on the road means fewer accidents no matter what, and if the majority of those drivers are expecting to get passed by some speed demon, they’re going to be more careful drivers.

In other words, I think that report is missing some data. Did accidents or traffic on side roads increase when the accidents on the main roads decreased?

Yes. Driving is something that requires attention. If you can’t pay attention while you’re doing something else, get off the road. If you are too busy woolgathering to pay attention, get off the road.

I propose no speed limits between 06:00 and 09:00ct. As well as 15:00 and 18:00.

Or whatever your timezone is…