One solution to the upcoming increase in traffic jams, says the Texas Transportation Institute, is to increase the carrying capacity of roads in cities. But two writers at the Infrastructuralist think there is a good case to be made for demolishing in-city highways. The benefits don't stop at getting rid of ugly concrete snakes from city centers. Fewer highways can also lead to better - yes, better - traffic patterns.

Jebediah Reed and Yonah Freemark cite four examples - Harbor Drive in Portland, Oregon; the Central Freeway and the Embarcadero Freeway in San Francisco, California (pictured); and the Cheonggyecheon Highway in Seoul, South Korea - where big roads were taken down. In these cities, not only did the areas where the highways used to be prosper, but traffic flow actually increased. Reed and Freemark cite the Braess Paradox and each driver thinking of ways to optimize their route as key players in the "add more roads, get more traffic" conundrum. When the city highways in these four examples were torn down, people naturally found other ways to get around, dispersing the traffic flow. Reed and Freemark don't advocate tearing down every highway in every city; they just want to shove the idea that more roads is always better out the door. Well done.

[Source: Infrastructuralist via Treehugger]
Photo by meglet127. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.


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