Friday, October 30, 2015

Wider roads don't solve traffic congestion

Posted By on Fri, Oct 30, 2015 at 12:12 PM

click to enlarge FAST COMPANY
  • Fast Company

Will Stephenson mines some on-line research for more commentary on the futility of widening highways as a solution to road congestion. Overarching theme:

The fundamental law of road congestion: New roads will create new drivers, resulting in the intensity of traffic staying the same.

For those who care not to accept the conventional wisdom of Arkansas road builders and their tub thumpers at chambers of commerce:

Research from the National Bureau of Economic Research (which will comfort some and displease others with its additional finding that mass transit isn't a panacea):

More on these points from a Fast Company look at the research:

Expanding highways and roads increases congestion by creating more demand. And building out public transportation systems doesn't help either; there will always be more drivers to fill up any new road we build."

"The disheartening study used data from hundreds of metro areas in the U.S. to reach the conclusion that there is a "fundamental law of highway congestion," which essentially says that people drive more when there are more roads to drive on—no matter how much traffic there is. As a result, increased building of "interstate highways and major urban roads is unlikely to relieve congestion of these roads."

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