The September 22, 1955 Lewiston Daily Sun (Lewiston, ME) ran a wonderful piece titled, "Hope For the Motorist: Traffic Problems Will Disappear by Year 2000." Such unbridled optimism for the yet to be developed Interstate Highway System is downright cute. Well, cute in that condescending "bless your heart" kind of way. But cute, nonetheless.
Remember that in 1955 the Interstate Highway System was still just a twinkle in President Eisenhower's eye. The Federal Aid Highway Act, which allocated $25 billion ($195 billion in today's dollars) for the development of the Interstate Highway System, wasn't signed into law until 1956.
As a huge Disney nerd I can't help but think about short films and TV episodes from the late 50s which were clearly produced to sell the idea of the Interstate Highway System to the American public. The film The Story of Anyburg USA from 1957 and the Disneyland TV episode Magic Highway, USA from 1958 are two such glorious examples.
Predictions from the Lewiston Daily Sun piece appear below.
- Automobile traffic will increase fantastically, but because of fine expressways, there will be little congestion.
- On these expressways cities will be by-passed or the road will be so built that it will hardly be necessary to slow down.
- There will be no traffic lights on these major roads.
- Large lakes will be bridged. Mountain ranges will be tunneled.
- Opposing traffic will be separated. One-way streets and highways will be the rule.
- Sleet? Snow? It will melt as it hits the highway.
- Headlights? Won't need them on major roads. They will be illuminated bright as day.
- Disabled cars -- a major source of tieups today -- will be whisked away by helicopter.
- Cities will use three-level highways. Underground parking will be common. New office buildings will have parking facilities on each floor.
On a side note, I had a good chuckle reading about the helicopter solution to disabled cars, since comedian Eugene Mirman recently tweeted about Gallagher and his absolutely insane solution for road congestion.
Previously on Paleofuture:
- Highways by Automation (1958)
- Magic Highway USA Publicity Stills (1958)
- Disney's Magic Highway, U.S.A. (1958)
- Driverless Car of the Future (1957)
- Highway to Russia (1959)
- Magic Beam Highway (1961)
- Chrysler VP Predicts Solar Powered Cars (1958)