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Sprawl and traffic congestion

Does sprawl cause traffic congestion, or does traffic congestion cause urban sprawl? Does high density compaction or low density scatter cause more congestion?

Many people believe that traffic congestion is synonymous with sprawl, that low density scatteration leads to congestion. Yet compact, dense, downtowns are equally if not more congested. So which is true, or is it both?


But those equally congested urban areas have many more people per acre(or mile or whatever you want to use). Plus, those in the urban areas have so many more options on how to get from point A to point B. In the suburbs, you drive. In dense urban areas, you can drive, taxi, bus, subway, train, bike, walk, etc, etc.

When I need to, I can't even get from the suburbs to the urban area without driving, so many of those cars causing congestion in the downtown area are simply suburbanites looking for a place to park, probably within easy walking distance of their neighbor's car, who is doing the same thing!

Mike Morin

Traffic and sprawl are, at most, proximate causes of anything except a lot of aggravation and a lot of discussion. What causes both is the attitudinal, political, economic syndrome of a post-capitalist, consumerist society. We have somehow managed to define the waste of both land and fuel as a good thing …