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Thread: Adding roads to solve congestion "issue"

  1. #1
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    Adding roads to solve congestion "issue"

    Basically, our city is considering adding an a road that would "bypass" a neighborhood to solve a perceived congestion issue on major neighborhood street.

    The residents in the neighborhood see traffic congestion as an issue and would like the road added to relieve some of the traffic burden.

    The way the proposed street is currently designed, it would act as a "bypass" instead of adding to the neighborhood grid in a proper and complete way.

    Myself and other city residents are concerned that adding another street would not necessarily solve the congestion issue, but in the long-term, actually make the issue worse because of the law of induced demand.

    I'm looking for examples of cities that added a road to solve a congestion issue, and what the results were of adding the road? Did it solve the issue or did the issue get worse?

    I know this is a basic explanation. If you need more Any info on any other towns would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    There are literally thousands of examples of adding a bypass to "relieve" congestion, with the end result being equal traffic just on more roadways. Understand where people are coming from, and where they are going is the most important issue. If other transportation options are available that can take away 10 or 15% of that traffic would that support other options?

    What are they trying to achieve with this bypass... less traffic, or more accessibility. If it is less traffic, they need to come up with a better option that more roads. It has more often than not, not created the solution that was hoped for.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jamesmlui View post

    I'm looking for examples of cities that added a road to solve a congestion issue, and what the results were of adding the road? Did it solve the issue or did the issue get worse?

    I know this is a basic explanation. If you need more Any info on any other towns would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
    The literature is full of case studies, models, evidence, etc of the phenomenon of "induced demand". Don't let them tell you that building more roads will "solve" congestion. It will, for a short time, then it will return and you will be back to square one, with the city on the hook for more road maintenance. That means more taxes to cover the maintenance.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies. Yes, I absolutely agree, and there is a strong portion of the community that equally agrees. Many are advocating against the road simply as a means to reduce traffic load. This is great.

    What's missing from some of the proponents arguments are the examples from other cities.

    I don't doubt that there's info out there. I'm doing some searching on my own. I wanted to see if anyone had great examples or resources off the top of their heads.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    OTOH, you must also ask the question: "Will not building that new or upgraded road prevent the total traffic numbers from increasing anyway?", in which case if they do, you'll be far worse off than had the project been built.

    I have also seen too many instances of where a bypass, or just a majorly upgraded road, was not built, citing those (sometimes so-called) 'induced demand' studies, and the traffic came anyways - with most or all of the previously workable options now no longer economically available as options.

    Tread carefully and look at all of the potential 20-30 year numbers.

    Mike

  6. #6
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Does the street in question have a center turn lane? In many cases adding one will improve traffic flow and safety.

    Every situation is different. I would opt for adding as little capacity as possible in order to solve the issue. Other things that should be looked at would be mitigation strategies through Travel Demand Management. These will help take cars off the road and provide transportation alternatives in most cases.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    As a realistic goal, removing congestion is pretty far down the list. Most traffic issues balance out after a while as people adjust their situations to equilibrium. Politicians need more spine, and need to use their much-talked-about leadership and communications skills to get it across to the voters. I would generally promote sticking to the grid, providing options rather than one masterplanned solution.

    [meandering]
    Induced demand is just another way of saying "more people [getting to where they want to go/doing what they want to do] by a path that is superior to their alternatives". Certainly positive for the people on the road. Is it truly net positive for the whole system? That depends on the costs involved. Unfortunately the costs rarely track with the responsible parties, and are vary greatly by perception, so you get political pressure to do one thing or another.
    [/meandering]

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