Weekend Reads: Why Road Widening Doesn't Work

“Of all the unfounded myths that have wrecked our cities over the past 100 years, one stands among the giants. It’s the belief that widening roads eases congestion.

You’ve probably heard people repeat this myth over the years – your in-laws, your neighbors, and perhaps even your mayor. Indeed, recently I personally witnessed the mayors of both Austin and San Francisco, under pressure from congestion-addled residents, say exactly this.

They’re all wrong. We’ve had the evidence for a century and cities have proceeded as if they didn’t know. In the process, much that’s good about cities – their charm, strong communities, convenience, safety, economic stability – has been eroded. It would be no exaggeration to say that much of what separates great and poor cities depends on how they’ve handled congestion.

What follows is the evidence for why road-widening doesn’t work as a congestion-reliever, what road-widening actually achieves, and how congestion should really be addressed.”
Dustin DeKoekkoekComment