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Aviation Careers Series: Pilots and Flight Engineers
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    Increasing travel in the United States is threatening the mobility the nation’s surface transportation system provides. Congestion, particularly in urbanized areas and along heavily traveled intercity corridors, is increasing dramatically. The cost in lost productivity attributed to congestion nationwide is an estimated $100 billion per year. This does not include the costs of highway fatalities and injuries and the costs of wasted fuel and environmental damage, which may be even higher. In general, the conventional approach of building more roads to solve these problems is no longer economically and environmentally feasible. The problems affecting the nation’s surface transportation system are similar in the state of Washington. Since 1970, the state’s population has grown by approximately 45 percent, while the number of registered vehicles and the miles that these vehicles travel have more than doubled. This accelerated growth has resulted in some of the worst urban traffic congestion in the nation. Congestion causes delays, increases energy use, degrades safety, and creates an environment of frustration for commuters, tourists, commercial operators, and public transportation providers. No single strategy will solve the complex set of transportation problems facing both the nation and Washington State. In recognition of this, the U.S. Department of Transportation has initiated a program known as Intelligent Vehicle-Highway Systems (IVHS). The goal of IVHS is to provide safer roadways, better inform travelers, improve traffic management, and increase the efficiency of commercial goods movements by applying advanced technology to the transportation system. The Washington State Department of Transportation has developed a strategic plan for implementing IVHS within the state. Venture Washington is the program that will make the strategic plan a reality. The strategic plan addresses the next 20 years and beyond. Many of the actions planned are continuations of work already under way. Other planned applications will take many years before they are operational. The IVHS strategic plan recognizes that the state of Washington comprises a unique blend of geographical regions, and it is structured to address the differing needs of each one. For each region, service provisions or improvements will take place in four key areas: traffic management, freight mobility, public transportation, and traveler information.
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