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#1 2016-04-03 01:34:12

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,168
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Roger Baker on why adding more lanes to I-35 will *increase* traffic

Probably nobody knows more about the politics of highway building in Texas better than Roger Baker.  In his recent opus, he explains why adding lanes to highways actually *increases* traffic congestion, as well as explaining why the state of roadway planning in Texas is as bad as it is:

http://www.theragblog.com/roger-baker-m … ools-game/

One thing I think he misses is that the congestion problem (as well as all environmental problems) are driven by population growth.  If we just keep stuffing more people on the planet, then things like crowding, congestion, and gentrification will be the obvious result.  There's no way around that.  We're all sitting around asking, "How can we make it hurt less when we hit ourselves in the head with a hammer?", rather than simply not hitting ourselves in the head with a hammer in the first place.

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#2 2016-04-05 12:14:29

Darron
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Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 82

Re: Roger Baker on why adding more lanes to I-35 will *increase* traffic

Informative article.  It reminds me of some ecomonic studies that showed how making the lighting more efficient over time just increased it's consumption going all the way back to tallow candles (similar trend can be seen in computing power going from today back to electro-mechanical systems).   Basically the more you make something available the more uses are found for and and the more it is consumed.

In the case of traffic I think the fallacy the state has is that they assume the thing the public is consuming is "traffic capacity" so they spend a lot of time and effort working on ways to fine tune it by adding lanes, diverging diamond interchanges, continuous flow intersections, etc, etc.  But what people people really are consuming is the ability to get from point A to B and this has many many more solutions than just adding traffic capacity like public transport, better city planning, alternative transport, etc.

This is why it always irks me when people argue that we shouldn't invest in more cycling/ped facilities because the ones we have now are not fully utilized when this flies in the face of basic economics.  If we build more not only will the new infrastructure be utilized but the existing infrastructure will be utilized even more.

Darron

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#3 2016-04-06 01:23:47

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,168
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Re: Roger Baker on why adding more lanes to I-35 will *increase* traffic

Darron wrote:

It reminds me of some ecomonic studies that showed how making the lighting more efficient over time just increased it's consumption...

That's called the rebound effect, but it's not so large that it wipes out the efficiency gains.  People do increase their use of efficient products vs. the old ones, but not nearly enough to offset the energy savings.  Rebound effects are typically 10-20%, depending on the product in question and how you choose to measure the rebound.  It would have to be 100% to negate the savings.

http://aceee.org/files/pdf/white-paper/ … -small.pdf

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