Helping Our Peninsula's Environment

 

"You Can't Pave Your Way Out of Congestion!"
(c) Copyright David Dilworth, Nov 2001

"Building more lanes to cure congestion

is like loosening your belt to cure obesity."

1) There is now overwhelming evidence, including nationwide study of 70 metropolitan areas over 15 years (Texas Transportation Institute), another California specific study (Hansen 1995) which included Monterey County, that when an area is congested - additional lanes or roads do not provide congestion relief.

2) It is also well documented that additional lanes increase traffic, and that new highways create demand for travel and expansion by their very existence.

3) Further experience shows "When road capacity shrinks - So Can Traffic."

  • So, when a road is congested, adding more lanes or roads will not relieve congestion, but will likely increase traffic.
  • When a road is congested the only way to relieve congestion is not by building more roads, but by reducing land use - or paradoxically by closing roads.

___________________________

References:

1 "An Analysis of the Relationship Between Highway Expansion and Congestion in Metropolitan Areas", Nov 1998, Texas Transportation Institute, Surface Transportation Policy Project."

2 "Do New Highways Generate Traffic?" Fall 1995, M. Hansen, Access - UC Berkeley Engineering.

3 In January 1997 US Federal District Court, Judge Suzanne B. Conlon for the Northern District of Illinois, Opinion wrote:

"Highways create demand for travel and expansion by their very existence." Swain v. Brinegar, 517 F.2d 766, 777 (7th Cir.1975); Def. 12 (M) Par. 86. "However the final impact statement in this case relies on the implausible assumption that the same level of transportation needs will exist whether or not the toll road is constructed." "[FHWA's] decision in this regard was arbitrary and capricious. 5 USC Sec 706(2)(a)."

4 San Francisco's Central Freeway in 1996, New York's West Side Highway 1988 in Auto Free Times Winter 1996-97; "Remove it and They Will Disappear" by Jill Kruse STTP Research Coordinator, 1998)

-END

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This Page Last Updated 8/20/02