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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 effect of lane kilometers of roads on vehicle-kilometers traveled (VKT) in US cities. VKT increases proportionately to roadway lane kilometers for interstate highways and probably slightly less rapidly for other types of roads. The sources for this extra VKT are increases in driving by current residents, increases in commercial traffic, and migration. Increasing lane kilometers for one type of road diverts little traffic from other types of road. We find no evidence that the provision of public transportation affects VKT. We conclude that increased provision of roads or public transit is unlikely to relieve congestion. (JEL R41, R48)

Suggested Citation

  • Gilles Duranton & Matthew A. Turner, 2011. "The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2616-2652, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:6:p:2616-52
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L91 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Transportation: General
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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