Comment 78887

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 24, 2012 at 15:18:55 in reply to Comment 78884

The evidence is that some of the traffic really does disappear. In addition to offsetting trips to non-peak times, which makes more efficient use of existing street infrastructure, people are also observed to do various combinations of the following:

  • Combine more activities in fewer trips;
  • Pick different destinations that require less or easier driving;
  • Walk instead of driving;
  • Cycle instead of driving;
  • Take transit instead of driving;

And so on. For the last point, check out the Downs-Thompson Paradox, which finds, not surprisingly, that driving and transit tend to reach an equilibrium based on the relative availability and convenience of each mode.

This is especially true over the longer term, in which the relative availability of different modes affects land use, home and work decisions. In cities where it is very easy to drive everywhere, there is simply less demand for higher density areas that support more modal choice. The result is faster suburban expansion, more driving, worse air quality, higher per capita infrastructure costs, slower economic growth, and a self-fulfilling demand for ever-increasing automobile lane capacity that exacerbates all of these phenomena.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2012-06-24 15:19:11

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