In a state that is toying with secession from the Union, Department of Transportation plotting probably doesn’t even get this sophisticated. But as this post and chart make clear, there is a variety of other choices available that usually don’t even get put on the table for consideration.
And this kind of deliberate ignorance about alternatives gets expensive; it’s a dispositive of the conditions that “trap” us all in the unsustainable transportation cycle where 1) an absence of mass transit leaves driving as the only option, so 2) every person in a household over 16 years of age must have a vehicle, 3) more roads are required to support an ever-increasing number of vehicles, 4) transportation dollars automatically go to road building and maintenance and 5) mass transit projects are deemed too costly, which neatly leads back to 1).
But building and maintaining roads is very expensive, too. And that’s just the roads; once we begin to price-in the negative externalities of CO2 emissions and the general conditions surrounding resource scarcity, not to mention drive-time radio, we should be able to consider cost of driving to be sufficiently astronomical as to squeeze a few more chairs around the transportation planning table.