Well, I did it again. Luckily, there were no deaths this time, but once more my ineptitude with traffic planning led to disaster in my small town. Massive power outages struck without warning thanks to a lack of fuel for my power plants. The trucks that were supposed to deliver the oil and coal managed to get stuck in gridlock for days (the game is very abstract about the passage of time).
I thought for sure this time I had it figured out. When traffic got bad, I bulldozed my two-lane road (and, unfortunately, a large chunk of my commercial district, and replaced it with a four-lane road. But that proved to be only a temporary stopgap. It turned out that most of the gridlock was due to cars going south and that the north lanes were barely being used. So I tore up the road again and replaced it with a one-way street and a two-lane road. But that just shifted the congestion down to the south as various cars got stuck having to divert around my one-way street and subsequently clogged up residential roads that were not meant to handle the congestion.
I think, on balance, things were getting better - the blackouts even stopped temporarily - but as my city grew, the problems came back with a vengeance and I wound up with power outages over about a third of the town.
From where I'm standing, the problem of controlling traffic is starting to look like it may be beyond my capabilities. It's difficult to see the connections between cause and effect, and nothing in my experience has helped me develop an intuition for the sort of solutions the game is expecting of me.
The only thing I can do is commit to a painful series of experiments where I learn through trial and error what works and what doesn't. It looks like a third new city is in the works. Here's hoping this one teaches me something useful.