Sunday, October 18, 2015

Yes, please: "Induced demand" as necessary corrective to road-building lobbyists' Goebbelsian propaganda.

Wouldn't it be nice if perhaps once in a person's lifetime, a conventional local news outlet -- News and Tribune, Courier-Journal, Business First, WDRB, Insider Louisville -- would accompany the breathless transcribing of an equally breathless press conference or news release from an eternally breathless corporate-financed, road-building lobby group with a simple explanation of induced demand?

Which in these instances, would act as the antidote to the breathless propaganda being dispensed by the usual paid-up suspects?

Have an opinion about traffic? You're entitled, but henceforth, when you air it, I'll be asking you if you're familiar with induced demand.

It's going to be on the test, folks.

What’s Up With That: Building Bigger Roads Actually Makes Traffic Worse, by Adam Mann (Wired)

... As a kid, I used to ask my parents why they couldn’t just build more lanes on the freeway. Maybe transform them all into double-decker highways with cars zooming on the upper and lower levels. Except, as it turns out, that wouldn’t work. Because if there’s anything that traffic engineers have discovered in the last few decades it’s that you can’t build your way out of congestion. It’s the roads themselves that cause traffic.

The concept is called induced demand, which is economist-speak for when increasing the supply of something (like roads) makes people want that thing even more. Though some traffic engineers made note of this phenomenon at least as early as the 1960s, it is only in recent years that social scientists have collected enough data to show how this happens pretty much every time we build new roads. These findings imply that the ways we traditionally go about trying to mitigate jams are essentially fruitless, and that we’d all be spending a lot less time in traffic if we could just be a little more rational.

I'm not exactly certain why we should take seriously a trucking and logistics lobby group with key personnel that includes a former Clark County GOP party chairman, although it's obvious that the group's announcements have Ron "Fluff the Wealthy" Grooms billing and cooing like a teenager in love with a pin-up girl.

Perhaps we can expect Ron to introduce vital legislation: The Auto-centric Freedom Restoration Act, or some such drivel.

Let's do this drill one more time. When the talking point proposes laying asphalt to solve problems:

"A new report aimed at reducing transportation bottlenecks."

Remember induced demand:

"The fundamental law of road congestion: New roads will create new drivers, resulting in the intensity of traffic staying the same."

I'm not picking on the reporter Finley; his was the first link I copied. No area news outlet did itself any favors with coverage (see Riefenstahl, Leni for historical antecedents).

Plan calls for expanded I-65, I-64 and new Sherman Minton bridge, by Marty Finley (Louisville Business First)

A new report aimed at reducing transportation bottlenecks and improving logistics channels for business calls for the widening of Interstate 64 and I-65 in Indiana and the reconstruction of the Sherman Minton Bridge.

Those three major regional priorities were outlined among 63 needed infrastructure initiatives in "Regional Links: Global Connections," a strategic plan that has been under development for two years by the Southeast Regional Logistics Council. The plan was released during a news conference in Jeffersonville Tuesday morning.


w&la said...

Anyone who thinks the Sherman Minton bridge won't end up being tolled is delusional.

There is no long term advantage to New Albany within the bridge tolling scheme.

While the 2011 INDOT contract stipulated the repairs to the bridge would "last 20 years" -


- and now, in the referenced new story, we're already seeing the first steps toward "the reconstruction of the Sherman Minton Bridge."

Worried Northerner said...

I guess I am delusional, since there is no evidence to the contrary amp?