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HELICOPTER AIR SERVICE PROGRAM 461

For the vast majority of trips in the urban areas of 1975, public transportation will not be an alternative. Land use and travel patterns will have been created largely by the auto and therefore can be served best by the automobile. The only significant exception will be for trips into the CBD. However even in this instance the automobile will continue to be the preferred mode. People will drive their automobiles into the city up to the point where the advantages of doing this, namely flexibility, relatively low cost, and psychological gratification are outweighed by the disadvantages of lost time, fatigue, and frustration associated with auto traffic congestion. Upon reaching this point the individual will either use public transportation, seek a new highway route into the city, or even decide to seek employment elsewhere. This behavioral tendency explains why automobiles have not in fact strangled the city.

This suggests that the traffic congestion problem will take care of itself. This is not true, of course, as it has been necessary to take corrective action in all of our major cities. Generally, this has taken the form of adding capacity to urban highways.

Most regional planning today recognizes that the auto is here to stay by popular demand, and land use patterns are being developed to accommodate it. Also, there is a growing recognition that the roles of the automobile and mass transportation are not irreconcilable. Many mass transportation proponents have advocated banning all autos from downtown while the auto group has been demanding more freeway and parking facilities. A view is now developing, however, that mass transportation can and should play a complimentary tole to the automobile. In other words, each can be melded into transportation systems package to save the nation's cities.

It will require an effort of massive proportions to make any substantial reduction in present traffic congestion, Although additions to the capacity of local transportation systems will continue to be made there is little indication that any such massive programs are in store during the next few years. Rather, it appears that traffic congestion will continue at about the same level as today, i.e., very close to the intolerable point for most auto commuters.

Summary

The preceding discussion of characteristics of the nation's urban transportation needs and the problems which air vehicles would have in meeting these needs on a large-scale basis does not rule out entirely their use in the next 10 to 15 years. Undoubtedly, there are situations where terrain and geographic characteristics are such that air vehicles could be used economically in commutation, as compared with surface vehicles. Because of its vertical-lift and hovering capabilities, the helicopter would be ideal for such purpose.

We believe, however, that such operations will be limited in scope and unable to survive economically on their own. If commuting service is provided with helicopters, such operation undoubtedly would be offered as a part of a system which provides primarily either airport or short-haul intercity transportation.

As far as any wide-spread use of helicopters in urban transportation or suburbs-to-business district commuting is concerned, we do not see it occurring in the time period selected for this study-by 1970 or 1975.


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