Freedom of the American Road (1955)
This new film is designed to act as the starting gun on a new campaign for better roads sponsored by the Ford Motor Company.
As introduced in the film by Henry Ford II, the campaign intends to show that, although full credit can be given to governmental traffic experts for their efforts and skill in planning and engineering new improved highways, a most important role in getting better roads is being played by private citizens getting together to demand road improvement.
For example, the film visits the former site of “Bloody Bayshore,” south of San Francisco, one of the most dangerous roads in the country until private citizens, spurred on by the Palo Alto Times and other local papers, set a campaign in motion that reached top governmental levels and resulted in a new freeway that now provides good, efficient and safe access to the city.
Pittsburgh, hemmed in by the converging Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers, was stifling in road congestion that cost the city millions of dollars annually. Ten years ago, it was a nightmare; today, the “Golden Triangle” of Pittsburgh, with adequate and scientifically designed roads and parking facilities, is one of the nation’s best examples of the civic advantage of good roads. In Pittsburgh’s instance, private citizens, local business and such industrial firms as Gulf Oil and H.J. Heinz took the lead in public demand for improvement.
Another example cited is Boston’s new “Golden Semi-Circle” — Route 128 — which not only provides good access to downtown Boston for the sprawling 2-1/2 million population in the metropolitan area, but has attracted dozens of new industries along the route.
The film shows North Carolina’s excellent new county roads that have revolutionized the life of rural people with good new central schools, shopping centers and cultural centers.
Besides taking a big part in improving good roads, private citizens can be vastly important in campaigns to achieve safe driving habits in the community. St. Joseph, Missouri, for instance, where “they never let you forget safety,” and where accident statistics are as low as anywhere in the country. [Business Screen 17:2, 1956]
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