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2 Reasons Why the American Approach to Congestion is Totally Wrong

1. Congestion isn’t a problem.

“At least, not in the way you think. Yes, congestion is a “problem” if you’re leaving the office at 5:30pm in your personal vehicle hoping to make it to your home 10 miles away on the edge of town in 15 minutes or less. But congestion is not the cause of your delay, or your lost income and productivity.”

“Congestion is a phenomenon we’ve created as a result of our hierarchical road network. Chuck explained this skillfully in a post a few years ago so I won’t repeat his work, but to summarize: When you create a road system where small neighborhood streets feed into large arterial roads, which feed into major highways, you shouldn’t be surprised if the result is a large amount of cars all crowding those arterials and highways during peak hours. We’ve created this situation by the very design of our road networks, and only a fundamental rethinking of the way we build and move around our cities can change it.”

2. Road expansion isn’t a solution.

“So we’ve created the problem of congestion. But we can build our way out, right? Nope. Because of a concept called “induced demand” most highway expansion projects are basically the equivalent of flushing public dollars down the toilet. When you expand a road, you simply encourage more people to drive, thus filling up the newly added lanes. This phenomenon has been studied and documented in towns and cities around the countryCheck out this new report by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group, which details several wasteful highway expansion projects nationwide if you’d like to learn more.”

FULL STORY published June 23, 2018 via Strong Towns