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Sightline Daily | More Roads = More Traffic


“To many folks who follow transportation issues closely, the idea that new roads create new traffic is familiar—yet it sometimes gets bandied about rather casually, as if it’s something that we know but don’t particularly need to prove. But there’s nothing casual about Duranton and Turner’s analysis. It’s thorough, well thought out, rigorous, employs careful controls to separate cause from effect, and uses the best available data for the US transportation system from (I kid you not) 1835 to the present.

“And while road skeptics will undoubtedly be heartened by the findings about highways and traffic, they may be troubled by another of the study’s findings: public transit has virtually no effect on traffic volumes.  The irrelevance of transit service to urban traffic volumes goes against both intuitions and the claims of many transit analysts. Yes, it’s easy enough to argue that if all transit riders started driving, then they’d clog the roads during rush hour; and conversely, that if a bunch of people switched from cars to buses, rush hour traffic would get lighter for a while. But as the authors point out, if drivers switch from cars to buses or trains, it has much the same effect as adding new road space: traffic clears up temporarily, but faster travel quickly attracts more drivers who take longer trips.”

Read the entire article at Sightline Daily:  Study: More Roads = More Traffic.

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