Thursday, February 10, 2011

Traffic Congestion and Clean Air

Clean air, climate change and traffic congestion (pdf file-28 pages) Speaker Notes-Professor Nicholas Low (Clean Air Society of Australia and NewZealand)   Melbourne's  West Gate Freeway

Key Quotes:

"So what does happen when roads are built to relieve congestion?"

"the average time spent in travel in Britain has remained remarkably constant over the last 35 years despite a massive program of road building. In fact the time spent in travel has slightly increased since 1985."

"instead of choosing to save time, people have instead chosen to keep their travel time constant – or even extend it a bit, and instead travel further. He shows that the distance traveled in Britain, in average miles per person per year, has increased from around 4500 miles to over 7000"

"Congestion can have a positive function, inhibiting travel:
  • Congestion is an automatic travel demand management measure, which plays an important role in keeping cities liveable.
  • Congestion pricing monetises and socialises the cost of congestion paid by the motorist.
  • If the price paid is invested in infrastructure improvement it will simply increase distance travelled unless there are complementary measures to inhibit travel such as car parking restrictions and land use controls."
‘Bottlenecks may often play a useful and important function in regulating flows and controlling the level of congestion that occurs on a road network’ (Metz, 2008, The Limits to Travel p.54)

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