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The Quiet iPad

by M.G. Siegler


Self-Driving Cars Can’t Cure Traffic, but Economics Can

Conor Dougherty:

Decades’ worth of studies show that whenever cities add roads, new drivers simply fill them up. This isn’t because of new development or population growth — although that’s part of the story — but because of a vicious cycle in which new roads bring new demand that no amount of further roads can satisfy.
This has been studied at rush hour, studied on individual freeway projects and studied with large data sets that encompass nearly every road in the United States. With remarkable consistency, the research finds the same thing: Whenever a road is built or an older road is widened, more people decide to drive more. Build more or widen further, and even more people decide to drive. Repeat to infinity.

Latent demand that can never be satisfied without fundamental changes to the way we get around... Though I'm not sure the proposal here -- taxing people driving in cities during peak times -- is the right answer long-term, it could help (as it does in cities in Europe, for example) short-term.


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