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The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US Cities

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  • Gilles Duranton
  • Matthew A. Turner

Abstract

We investigate the relationship between interstate highways and highway vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT) in US cities. We find that VKT increases proportionately to highways and identify three important sources for this extra VKT: an increase in driving by current residents; an increase in transportation intensive production activity; and an inflow of new residents. The provision of public transportation has no impact on VKT. We also estimate the aggregate city level demand for VKT and find it to be very elastic. We conclude that an increased provision of roads or public transit is unlikely to relieve congestion and that the current provision of roads exceeds the optimum given the absence of congestion pricing.

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File URL: http://www.spatialeconomics.ac.uk/textonly/SERC/publications/download/sercdp0030.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE in its series SERC Discussion Papers with number 0030.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cep:sercdp:0030

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Web page: http://www.spatialeconomics.ac.uk/SERC/publications/default.asp

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Keywords: highways; vehicle-kilometres traveled; public transport; congestion;

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Why new roads do not alleviate congestion
    by Olaf Storbeck in Economics Intelligence on 2011-10-24 21:32:08
  2. Wer Stra�en sät, wird Staus ernten
    by Olaf Storbeck in Handelsblog on 2011-10-19 14:26:40
  3. I-405 Expansion in LA Offers a Case Study of the Fundamental Law of Traffic Congestion
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2010-01-07 01:19:00
  4. Can Improvements in Atlanta's Public Transit Infrastructure Reduce Road Congestion?
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2012-07-15 22:15:00
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