Stop Doing Traffic The American Way, Toastmasters Speech Outline

For this Toastmasters speech, I had to present a proposal about the topic of my choosing. I chose to discuss the traffic and switching to not doing things the American way in hopes to improve traffic effiencies. This is the Level 3 "Present A Proposal" project of the Innovative Planning path.

Executive Summary (Thesis)

  • improve American traffic with designs from other countries

Introduction (Overview)

  • Traffic in America is bad
  • 46,000 died on American roadways
  • Traffic designers have a number of tactics that they use to make traffic easier, but doesn't solve the problem
  • Michigan Left; indirect left turns; carpool lanes;
  • example: San Diego, Mira Mesa advisory bike lane caused confusion; common in other countries though
  • Propose that we build better roads like the Netherlands and Europeans instead of building roads "the American way"

Statement of Need (necessity and benefits)

  • traffic will continuously increase as time goes on. Per Federal Highway Adminstration, December 2019 number of miles driven increase by 1.3% from December 2018
  • With more traffic, comes more accidents, more congestion
  • When roads become congested, build more lanes; however more lanes are not the answer due to "induced demand"
  • brand new neighborhoods with no sidewalks; implies that you must drive to go somewhere
  • have to be a light before phase starts; else have to wait on entire cycle to get a green
  • induced demand - increase in demand by improving traffic flow and infrastructure
  • Katy Freeway in Houston, Texas; 26 lanes at its widest

Description (Solution)

  • replace when doing improvements or upgrades instead of ripping out and starting over
  • cities like Carmel, Indiana have been replacing traffic lights with roundabouts since 1996
  • build more intelligent traffic systems to prioritize public transit; no sense in bus waiting like a car
  • prioritize emergency vehicles; state of Minnesota implemented EMERGENCY VEHICLE PREEMPTION “PRIORITY” for all state DOT managed lights
  • reduces emergency response times
  • less likely for emergency vehicle crash with passenger vehicle
  • follow advice given in book "Strong Town", which shares practices

Needs Analysis (explain costs, equipment, materials, etc required and how costs would be covered)

  • additional measures for smarter traffic lights will cost
  • some additional cost for more paint and signs
  • cost savings from no traffic light operation and maintenance costs ($200K for signal, $5K per year electric)

Vision for the Future (possible outcomes)

  • Roads are more friendly for those that are not in or on a motor vehicle
  • Being able to get to destination faster
  • No idling a traffic lights because more roundabouts will be used;
  • Carmel, Indiana increase population and fewer accidents and even fewer fatilities

Summary of Main Points (recap everything above)


  • could use speech for humor speech
  • good sense of timing
  • sentences well put together
  • good research for different cities and measures that they have taken
  • slowing down a bit to allow for better digestion of the content
Posted: 2022-04-19
Author: Kenny Robinson, @almostengr