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Congestion References & Experts

Transportation Policy

Getting What You Pay For--Paying For What You Get: Proposals for the Next Transportation Reauthorization
Author: Randal O'Toole
Citation: Washington: Cato Institute Policy Analysis no. 644, September 15, 2009, 13 pp.
Summary: In its next reauthorization of federal transportation funding, Congress should return to the principle of funding transportation out of user fees.
Quote: "To ensure efficient transportation funding, citizens should be able to appeal plans that lack a full range of alternatives, that are not cost efficient, or that fabricate data."
Stimulus, Reauthorization, and Mobility (584-KB PowerPoint file)
Author: Alan Pisarski
Citation: Presentation given to the 2009 Preserving the American Dream conference, Bellevue, WA, April 18, 2009
Summary: Mobility has been forgotten in the debate over stimulus and transportation. The next reauthorization of federal transportation funding is likely to focus on reducing mobility rather than enhancing it.
Quote: "The right answer should at least be among the options available."
The Nexus of Energy, the Environment, and the Economy (1.6-MB PowerPoint file)
Author: Alan Pisarski
Citation: Presentation given to the Institute of Transportation Engineers, October 31, 2008
Summary: Evaluates whether high gas prices and other factors causing a reduction in driving are a good thing, and how we can best deal with energy shortages and plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Quotes: "$5 to $6 per gallon gas prices mean slower access to automobility of lower-income populations, rural stress, and less access to a broad worker pool." "95% to 105% of gains in air quality have come from technology, 5% to -5% from changed behavior."
Surface Transportation: Restructured Federal Approach Needed for More Focused, Performance-Based, and Sustainable Programs (1 mb pdf file)
Author: Government Accountability Office
Citation: Washington, DC: US GAO, 2008, 91 pp.
Summary: Recommends that federal transportation funding be based on performace and emphasize returns on the federal investment.
Quote: "Many current programs are not effective at addressing key transportation challenges such as increased congestion and freight demand . . . because federal goals and roles are unclear. The goals are numerous and sometimes conflicting."
Roadmap to Gridlock: The Failure of Long-Range Metropolitan Transportation Planning (284-kb pdf file)
Author: Randal O'Toole
Citation: Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 2008, 28 pp.
Summary: Reviews long-range transportation plans for more than 70 of the nation's largest metropolitan areas and finds that the plans fail to follow standard planning procedures and that close to half fail to be cost-effective in meeting transportation needs.
Quote: Planning is "a politicized process that cannot hope to find the most effective transportation solutions. Thus, long-range planning has contributed to, rather than prevented, the hextupling of congestion American urban areas have suffered since 1982."
Restoring Regional Equity to the Federal Highway Trust Fund (268-kb pdf)
Author: Ronald Utt
Citation: Washington, DC: Heritage Foundation, 2007, 6 pp.
Summary: Some states pay more federal gas taxes than they receive in federal transportation funds; the ones who get more back tend to have higher than average incomes. Utt proposes to solve this by ending federal gas taxes and letting the states take over transportation funding.
Quote: "In advance of the 1998 reauthorization, more than 20 states -- many in the South and West -- organized themselves into a coalition called STEP 21 and lobbied for a fairer system. In response, Congress made what can best be described as 'important cosmetic changes' in the bill."
Strategies Are Available for Making Existing Road Infrastructure Perform Better (2-mb pdf)
Author: JayEtta Z. Hecker
Citation: Washington, DC: Government Accountability Office, 2007, 56 pp.
Summary: Highway agencies can make more effective use of existing roads through: 1. enhancing capacity through better operations and traffic signal coordination; and 2. influencing behaviour by road pricing, which encourages some people to drive at less congested hours of the day.
Quote: "There is a limited focus in the current decision-making process on selecting projects that will produce the highest net social benefits."
Rush Hour: How States Can Reduce Congestion Through Performance-Based Transportation Programs (332-kb pdf)
Author: Wendell Cox, Alan Pisarski, and Ronald Utt
Citation: Washington, DC: Heritage Foundation, 2007, 11 pp.
Summary: Proposes that federal and state transportation funds be allocated based on such performance measures as the travel time index (a measure of congestion) and the number of accident fatalities.
Quote: "Federal, state, and local officials and their respective departments of transportation (DOTs) often respond by arguing that the anemic growth in capacity demonstrates that their highway and tran- sit programs are underfunded and that more financial resources are needed to reverse the trend, relieve congestion, and improve mobility. The facts, however, indicate otherwise."
Innovative Roadway Design: Making Highways More Livable (3.7-mb pdf)
Author: Peter Samuel
Citation: Los Angeles, CA: Reason Foundation, 2006, 80 pp.
Summary: Suggests that new highways could be made more attractive by building more, smaller roads; elevating light-weight roads for autos only; tunneling; and using underutilized railroad and power line rights of way and flood control channels.
Quote: "Adding capacity with innovative design concepts is generally more expensive than adding lanes to mammoth freeways. But congestion and loss of mobility from not providing needed highway capacity are also hugely costly."
Whose Street Is It, Anyway? (60-kb Word document)
Author: Aarne Frobom
Citation: Presentation given at the Preserving the American Dream conference, San Jose, CA, 11 November 2007, 7 pp.
Summary: Describes how the National Motorists Association has worked to protect motorists' rights since 1974, when Congress passed the 55-mph speed limit.
Quote: "My unsupported theory is that traffic calming is most popular where residents feel threatened by invaders from a different culture, such as when a middle-class neighborhood is located near college-student apartments."
Reason Foundation Mobility Project (804-kb PowerPoint)
Authors: Robert Poole, Jr. and Adrian Moore
Citation: PowerPoint show presented at 2006 Preserving the American Dream conference, 32 slides.
Summary: Describes the Reason Foundation's program for improving U.S. urban mobility in the next twenty-five years.
Quote: "Mobility boosts business! When travel speeds increase by 10%, the labor market increases by 15% and productivity increases by 3%."
Adding Priced Capacity for Congestion Relief (1.9-mb PowerPoint)
Authors: Robert Poole, Jr.
Citation: PowerPoint show presented at 2006 Preserving the American Dream conference, 22 slides.
Summary: Describes the Reason Foundation's program for improving U.S. urban mobility in the next twenty-five years.
Quote: "A value-priced lane is the virtual equivalent of an exclusive busway. Reliable high speeds are sustainable in the long run, thanks to pricing."
The "TEA" Party Is Over: National Transportation Policies Must Change (440-kb PowerPoint)
Author: Greg Cohen, American Highway Users Alliance
Citation: PowerPoint presentation made to the 2006 Preserving the American Dream Conference, September 16, 2006, 19 slides.
Summary: The 1991, 1997, and 2005 transportation efficiency acts (TEA) have increased funding for mass transit by 108 percent, yet ridership has increased by only 7 percent. The next transportation bill must take a completely different course.
Quote: "The TEA party is over because we're spending more than we're collecting in fuel and truck taxes. The Highway Trust Fund will be broke in 2009 forcing major cuts as soon as 2008."
Are Induced-Travel Studies Inducing Bad Investments? (336-kb pdf)
Authors: Robert Cervero
Citation: Access magazine, 22 (Spring, 2003): 22-27.
Summary: Claims that new roads should not be built because they simply "induce" more travel are misguided and lead to severe problems.
Quote: "Fighting highway projects, regardless of what benefit-cost numbers say, is misguided. The problems people associate with roads -- e.g., congestion and air pollution -- are not the fault of road investments per se. These problems stem from the use and mispricing of roads."
A Primer on Lobbyists, Earmarks, and Congressional Reform (636-kb pdf)
Author: Ronald D. Utt
Citation: Washington, DC: Heritage Foundation, 2006, 21 pp.
Summary: Members of Congress have introduced more than fifty proposals to curb the influence of lobbyists and discourage wasteful earmarks. As of April 2006, however, only two were more than cosmetic: S. 2128 and S. 2265, both introduced by Senator John McCain, which would require transparency in donations by lobbyists and the recipients of earmarked funds.
Quote: "While these provisions are not likely to slow the growth of earmarks, they should make the process more honest."
The Politics of Gridlock (56-kb pdf)
Author: Robert Atkinson
Citation: Chapter from a book titled Moving People, Goods, and Information in the 21st Century, Routledge Press, 2004.
Summary: The current federal transportation reauthorization bill is not likely to reduce congestion. This article looks at how we can create a new consensus for mobility instead of gridlock.
Quote: "The rise of what Montgomery County, Maryland Executive Doug Duncan calls the 'congestion coalition' (a small, but extremely influential anti-highway, anti-car, and anti-suburban coalition) has changed the focus of transportation policy from one expanding supply to one restraining demand and getting people out of cars."
Rethinking Traffic Congestion (960-kb pdf)
Author: Brian Taylor
Citation: Access magazine, #21, Fall 2002, pp. 8-16.
Summary: Smart growth policies of compact development cannot be justified based on their ability to reduce congestion; instead, they increase it.
Quote: "Low-density, dispersed land uses spread traffic widely; they facilitate increased per capita vehicle use, but also decrease the overall density of vehicle travel and, hence, reduce congestion. One might term such development 'Smart Sprawl.'"
Getting Unstuck: Three Big Ideas to Get America Moving Again (132-kb pdf)
Author: Robert Atkinson
Citation: Progressive Policy Institute, 2002
Summary: Suggests we need to invest more in mobility, allocate federal funding on the basis of performance, and use market forces to reduce congestion.
Quote: "Allocate federal highway funds to states partly on the basis of relative performance in three areas: reducing congestion, improving safety, and cutting vehicle emissions."
The Promise of Telecommuting (848-kb PowerPoint)
Author: Ted Balaker
Citation: Presentation given at the 2005 Preserving the American Dream conference
Summary: Despite huge subsidies and public efforts, transit and carpooling are both declining as forms of commuting. Though it has received little public support, telecommuting is the fastest-growing form of commuting and is poised to soon overtake transit.
Quote: "A study in the Washington DC area found that traffic delays would drop by 10 percent for every 3 percent of commuters who work from home."
Curbing Excess Sprawl with Congestion Tolls and Urban Boundaries (342-kb pdf)
Author:Alex Anas, SUNY Buffalo, and Hyok-Joo Rhee, Seoul National University of Technology
Citation: Regional Science and Urban Economics, 36: 4 (July 2006), pp. 510-541.
Summary: Congestion-priced tolls can reduce congestion and discourage urban sprawl without urban-growth boundaries. Urban boundaries discourage urban sprawl but increase congestion.
Quote: "Urban boundaries can be efficient if urban workers greatly value the greenbelt or the urban compactness it creates as a pure public good. Nevertheless, such efficient boundaries increase congestion and tolls are still needed to reduce travel times."
You Can't Get There from Here: Government Failure in U.S. Transportation (572-kb pdf file)
Author: Clifford Winston
Citation: Brookings Review, Summer 1999.
Summary: Government policies in urban and interstate transportation have imposed huge costs on consumers and can best be remedied by various forms of privatization.
Quote: "Transportation regulatory policy has baffled economists by consistently undermining the very public interest it was supposed to promote."


19th Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems (1984-2008) (8.3-mb pdf)
Accompanying Tables (893-kb Excel spreadsheet)
Author: David T. Hartgen, Ravi K. Karanam, M. Gregory Fields, and Travis A. Kerscher
Citation: Los Angeles, CA: Reason Foundation, 2010, 106 pp.
Summary: Tracks the performance -- condition, congestion, accidents, etc. -- of state highways from 1984 through 2008.
Quote: "The overall condition of the state-owned highway system has never been in better shape. . . . All seven key indicators of system condition showed improvement, including large gains in urban interstate condition, rural arterial condition, deficient bridges and fatality rates."
2006 Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit: Condition and Performance (7.5-mb pdf file)
Author: U.S. Department of Transportation
Citation: Washington, DC: US DOT, 2007, 436 pp.
Summary: Reviews the condition of roads and bridges as of 2004.
Quote: "While highway conditions have improved overall, this performance was uneven across all functional systms. Highway operational performance, as measured by congestion has worsened throughout the country."
Raising Gas Taxes Won't Fix Our Bridges (248-kb pdf)
Author: Adrian Moore
Citation: Los Angeles, CA: Reason Foundation, 2007, 2 pp.
Summary: Transportation spending has become so politicized that there is no guarantee that revenues from increased taxes would go to repair bridges and other infrastructure.
Quote: "Clearly, in the wake of the I-35 bridge collapse Congress and state legislators need to re-examine transportation priorities and base funding on objective needs, not politics."
16th Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems (1984-2005) (3.7-mb pdf)
Accompanying Tables (668-kb Excel spreadsheet)
Author: David T. Hartgen and Ravi K. Karanam
Citation: Los Angeles, CA: Reason Foundation, 2007, 50 pp.
Summary: Tracks the performance -- condition, congestion, accidents, etc. -- of state highways from 1984 through 2005.
Quote: "The condition of secondary and local roads continues to worsen. Over one half of urban interstates remain congested, and the states' ability to deal with congestion seems to be slowing. And one quarter of the nation's bridges are still rated 'deficient.'"
Building Roads to Reduce Traffic Congestion in America's Cities: How Much and at What Cost? (2.5-mb pdf)
Authors: David T. Hartgen and M. Gregory Fields
Citation: Los Angeles, CA: Reason Foundation, 2006, 44 pp.
Summary: Estimates that severe congestion can be relieved by adding 6.2 percent lane-miles to urban road networks, which would cost about 10 to 15 percent of the federal highway program over 25 years.
Quote: "Congestion relief through provision of additional capacity is quite feasible, given current budgets. The benefits of an investment in additional capacity would be substantial."
Detailed State-by-State Analysis of Future Congestion and Capacity Needs (412-kb pdf)
Authors: David T. Hartgen and M. Gregory Fields
Citation: Los Angeles, CA: Reason Foundation, 2006, 75 pp.
Summary: Projects congestion by state and urban area, as well as the number of miles of new roads needed to relieve that congestion, through the year 2030.
Quote: "This report finds that severe traffic congestion is pervasive in large regions and is worsening throughout the United States."

Toll Roads

Liberating Road Users: Options for Progress
Author: Gabriel Roth
Citation: Presentation to the 2010 Preserving the American Dream Conference, 12 pp.
Summary: GPS-based road pricing can pay for roads without government subsidies. Privacy can be protected, but highway users will have to take care to insure that prices are not excessive and diverted to other uses.
Quote: "A plausible next step is to introduce trials of voluntary GPS-based road use fees, as alternatives to existing road-use taxes."
Pennsylvania Turnpike Alternatives: A Review and Critique of the Democratic Caucus Study (492-kb pdf file)
Author: Robert Poole
Citation: Los Angeles, CA: Reason Foundation, 2008, 16 pp.
Summary: A report published by the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus is flawed as a guide for future policy regarding the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Quote: The report "fails to give a fair comparison of a Turnpike lease with alternatives, instead using different traffic growth rates and toll rates for the alternatives."
Leasing the Pennsylvania Turnpike: A Response to Critics of Gov. Rendell's Plan (360-kb pdf file)
Author: Peter Samuel and Geoffrey Segal
Citation: Los Angeles, CA: Reason Foundation, 2007, 19 pp.
Summary: A point-by-point response to critics of the turnpike proposal.
Quote: "On a global basis, private toll concessions are commonplace. Entire toll motorway systems in countries like France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Irelad are operated with concessions."
Tolling and Public-Private Partnerships in Texas: Separating Myth from Fact (372-kb pdf file)
Author: Robert Poole
Citation: Los Angeles, CA: Reason Foundation, 2007, 13 pp.
Summary: Public toll agencies are unlikely to be able to raise as much money for building new roads as private companies.
Quote: "Texas DOT concluded that conventional toll finance could cover, at best, $600 million of the cost of SH-130. When the project was offered as a long-term concession, however, Cintra-Zachry offered to finance the entire $1.3 billion project."
Leasing State Toll Roads: Frequently Asked Questions (648-kb pdf)
Author: Peter Samuel
Citation: Los Angeles, CA: Reason Foundation, 2007, 8 pp.
Summary: Dispels many of the myths about leasing of tollroads.
Quote: "Long-term leases help taxpayers unlock some of the inherent value in tollroads lost under government ownership."
HOT Lanes: Frequently Asked Questions (492-kb pdf)
Author: Leonard Gilroy and Amy Pelletier
Citation: Los Angeles, CA: Reason Foundation, 2007, 6 pp.
Summary: Explains the benefits of high-occupancy toll lanes which, though variable pricing, remain uncongested 24 hours a day.
Quote: "There is increasing dissatisfaction with HOV lanes. Although intended to reduce traffic by getting drivers to share rides, more than half of all 'car pools' in many cities are actually 'fam-pools,' made up of family members who would travel together anyway."
Building New Roads through Public-Private Partnerships: Frequently Asked Questions (652-kb pdf)
Author: Leonard Gilroy, Robert Poole, Jr., Peter Samuel and Geoffrey Segal
Citation: Los Angeles, CA: Reason Foundation, 2007, 8 pp.
Summary: Explains the benefits and dispels some of the myths about public-private partnerships.
Quote: "Public-private partnerships maximize the strengths of both the public and private sectors, offering taxpayers more efficiency, accountability, and cost- and time-savings. PPPs can be used to build roads and highway projects that may have been delayed or shelved altogether due to fiscal constraints."
The Role of Tolls in Financing 21st Century Highways (680-kb pdf)
Author: Peter Samuel
Citation: Los Angeles, CA: Reason Foundation, 2007, 50 pp.
Summary: Argues that franchise-type agreements with private road companies will work better than government toll-road authorities.
Quote: "Toll finance is not the answer for all future highway projects, nor are long-term concessions the only model that can deliver such projects. But the successes of such models are so striking that they should rapidly become an important part of our transportation system."
Time to Ditch Carpool Lanes for Toll Lanes (36-kb Word document)
Authors: Ted Balaker
Citation: Los Angeles, CA: Reason Foundation, 2006, 2 pp.
Summary: Carpool lanes are mainly used by families; they don't take cars off the road.
Quote: "Carpooling has tumbled in LA, even though the region is home to the nation's most extensive network of carpool lanes."
The Case for Road Pricing (Full Report) (740-kb pdf)
Author:Deloitte Research
Citation: Deloitte Research, 2004
Summary: Describes several different types of road pricing and outlines a political strategy for a successful pricing plan.
Quote: "Nearly everyone who has been through a project of this kind will say that in retrospect the political and policy problems loomed largest."
HOT Networks: A New Plan for Congestion Relief and Better Transit (1.7-mb pdf)
Author: Robert Poole, Reason Foundation and Kenneth Orski, Urban Mobility Corporation
Citation: Reason Foundation, policy study 305, 2003
Summary: A network of toll lanes built alongside of existing free lanes could guarantee that anyone could drive anywhere at anytime of day without facing congestion if the tolls varied by the amount of congestion.
Quote: "People of all income levels use the (California) HOT lanes when saving time is an important consideration. Indeed, utility vans and delivery trucks are a far more common sight on California's HOT lanes than the proverbial Lexus."
Building Highways through Public/Private Partnerships (540-kb pdf)
Author: Robert Poole (Reason), Kevin Soucie (Soucie & Associates), Thomas McDaniel (eTrans Group), and Daryl Fleming (eTrans Group)
Citation: Reason Foundation, policy study 304, 2003
Summary: Allowing private companies to build roads and collect tolls to pay the cost could significantly relieve congestion without raising taxes.
Quote: "Public/private partnerships for large, complex infrastructure projects have been used for decades in Europe, and more recently in Australia and Latin America."
Putting the Customer in the Driver's Seat: The Case for Tolls (184-kb web document)
Author: Peter Samuel and Robert Poole
Citation: Reason Foundation, policy study 274, 2000
Summary: Tolls can relieve congestion and insure that the user-pays principle works better than when paying for roads through gasoline taxes.
Quote: "Highway tolls should not be viewed as a last-resort or temporary financing mechanism. Rather, this study argues that, for a number of reasons, tolls should become the payment mode of choice for 21st-century highways, gradually replacing fuel taxes."
How to "Build Our Way out of Congestion" (88-kb web document)
Author: Peter Samuel
Citation: Reason Foundation policy study 250, 1999
Summary: Contrary to popular belief, new roads do not lead to more congestion.
Quote: "We can make far more creative use of existing freeway rights of way to increase capacity and ease congestion. One key to doing this is to provide separate lanes for cars and for trucks."
Toll Truckways: A New Path Toward Safer and More Efficient Freight Transportation (468-kb pdf)
Author: Peter Samuel, Robert Poole, and Jose Holguin-Veras
Citation: Reason Foundation policy study 294, 2002
Summary: Self-financing toll truckways would relieve congestion and increase highway safety.
Quote: "If permitted by the 2003 reauthorizatioin of the federal surface transportation program, the first toll truckways could be in service by the end of the decade."
Clearing Existing Freeway Bottlenecks with Fast and Intertwined Regular Networks: Costs, Benefits, and Revenues (152-kb pdf)
Author: Patrick DeCorla-Souza, Federal Highway Administration
Citation: Presentation at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting, 2004
Summary: FAIRLanes are a proposal to charge congestion tolls of everyone on existing freeways while dealing with equity concerns by offering low-income commutes toll or transit credits. Charging for all lanes, rather than just HOT lanes, would relieve congestion for everyone and help encourage people who don't need to drive during rush hour to drive at different times of the day.
Quote: "The results suggest that a FAIR network may provide significant net social benefits and also generate sufficient new revenues to pay for arterial network and freeway network management and operations (including toll collection) as well as the new express bus service and ancillary park-and-ride facilities."
An Evaluation of HOT Lanes and FAIRLanes (184-kb pdf)
Author: Patrick DeCorla-Souza, Federal Highway Administration
Citation: Presentation at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting, 2004
Summary: Compares the two different proposals for tolling congestion.
Quote: "A FAIR network will provide guaranteed premium service freeway lanes for a larger number of motorists than with HOT networks, and for a much more affordable price. Also, equity concerns will be addressed through toll and transit fare reimbursements to low-income commuters."
Drivers' Willingness-to-Pay to Reduce Travel Time: Evidence from the San Diego I-15 Congestion Pricing Project (72-kb pdf)
Author:David Brownstone (UC Irvine), Arindam Ghosh (UC), Thomas Golob (UC), Camilla Kazimi (San Diego State University), and Dirk Van Amelsfort (Bureau Goudappel Coffeng, the Netherlands)
Citation: University of California Transportation Center research paper 581, 2002,
Summary: Estimates that the median willingness to pay is about $30 per hour saved, although this may be biased upwards by drivers' perceptions that the toll lanes are safer.
Quote: "Drivers also use the posted toll as an indicator of abnormal congestion and increase their usage of the toll facility when tolls are higher than normal."

Case Studies

Are the Full Costs of Roads Paid for by Road Users? (1.5-MB Word file
Supporting data (615-KB Excel spreadsheet)
Author: Tom Rubin
Citation: Presentation at the 2010 Preserving the American Dream conference, Orlando, 40 pp.
Summary: Overall, and in 23 states in particular, road users cover all highway costs with highway taxes and user fees. In 28 states, user fees fall somewhat short of covering all highway costs.
Quote: "For the nation as a whole. . . , road users did pay the full cost of roads, with governmental revenues from road users exceeding governmental expenditures $196.7 billion to $179.4 billion, an excess of $17.3 billion, or 9.6% of expenditures."
Performance Audit Report: Managing and Reducing Congestion in Puget Sound (3.9-MB pdf file)
Author: Talbot, Korvola, and Warwick
Citation: Olympia, WA: Washington Department of Transportation, 2007, 226 pp.
Summary: Report shows that cost-effective investments can reduce the severe congestion that afflicts the Seattle-Tacoma area.
Quote: "The Department should make reducing congestion a primary goal. . . . A clear commitment to reducing congestion -- after meeting safety requirements -- would likely shift investment decisions."
Reducing Congestion in Atlanta: A Bold New Approach to Increasing Mobility (2.9-mb pdf)
Author: Robert Poole, Jr.
Citation: Los Angeles, CA: Reason Foundation, 2006, 80 pp.
Summary: Poole recommends a network of express toll lanes parallel to all Atlanta freeways; two tunnels to fix specific bottlenecks; and a toll truckway system that would allow trucks to bypass Atlanta.
Quote: "The estimated cost of these four mega-projects is $25 billion. By using value-priced tolling on nearly all of this new capacity, we estimate that more than 80 percent of the cost could be financed based on the projected toll revenues."
Density in Atlanta: Implications for Traffic and Transit (340-kb pdf)
Author: Alain Bertaud and Robert Poole, Jr.
Citation: Los Angeles, CA: Reason Foundation, 2007, 6 pp.
Summary: Explains why transit does not work well in Atlanta.
Quote: "The dream held by many of turning Atlanta into a European-style transit metropolis is unattainable. But by embracing cutting-edge engineering and pricing technology, Atlanta can make possible the dreams of its current and future residents: the flexibility to choose homes, jobs, and activities that fit their needs, not just their commutes."
End Gridlock Now (512-kb pdf)
Author: Dr. William Eager
Citation: TDA Inc., 2002,
Summary: Calculates that 26 projects that increase the Seattle region's roadway network by just 6 percent would relieve current congestion and provide enough capacity for the next fifty years of growth.
Quote: "If projected 2020 traffic used the road network that exists today, delay per trip would be about 2.5 times today's level (and today's is bad enough). The 26 End Gridlock Now projects would reduce the delay per trip by about 30% from today's levels."
Highway Construction Costs: Are WSDOT's highway construction costs in line with national experience? (3.3-mb pdf)
Author: Washington State Department of Transportation
Citation: WSDOT, 2004
Summary: Reviews twenty-one projects in Washington plus fifteen projects from twelve other states to see if Washington's highway costs are excessive. While a good source of data, it is sometimes biased in favor of higher costs because higher costs would make Washington's costs look more reasonable. For example, in estimating the cost of a highway in Colorado, it includes the cost of a parallel light-rail line which actually cost more than the highway.
Quote: "Of the 36 projects studied, 13 of them had costs in excess of $10 million per lane mile. These projects included interchanges, major structures, expensive right of way, and/or complex soil and site conditions."
The London Congestion Charge: Separating the Hype from Reality (120-kb pdf)
Author:Wendell Cox
Citation: Public Purpose, June 2005
Summary: Contrary to claims that the congestion charge is filling up buses and subways, both appear to be less crowded than before.
Quote: "The uniquely favorable economic conditions experienced by central London are virtually unknown among the high-income world's other major central business districts. Congestion charging cordons would probably hasten their competitive decline relative to suburban employment centers."

Economics of Transportation

Gridlock and growth: The Effect of Traffic Congestion on Regional Economic Performance
Citation: Los Angeles: Reason Foundation Policy Study 371, 2009, 61 pp.
Gridlock and growth: The Effect of Traffic Congestion on Regional Economic Performance (short version)
Citation: Los Angeles: Reason Foundation Policy Study 371, 2009, 8 pp.
Gridlock and growth: Summary Results for Sample Cities
Citation: Los Angeles: Reason Foundation Policy Study 371, 2009, 27 pp.
Author: David T. Hartgen and M. Gregory Fields
Summary: Reducing people's ease of access to a region's job centers by allowing congestion to increase can significantly reduce the region's economic productivity. The cities in the sample include Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, San Francisco, Salt Lake, and Seattle.
Quote: "A 10 percent decrease in CBD accessibility would decrease regional productivity by about 1 percent, about the same as observed in Europe and Korea in previous studies. But . . . regional economies might be more dependent on access to suburbs, malls and universities than on access to downtowns."
Build It and Will They Drive? Modelling Light-Duty Vehicle Travel Demand (320-kb pdf)
Author: Greg Hoover and Michael Burt
Citation: Ottawa, ON: Conference Board of Canada, 2006, 16 pp.
Summary: A frequent argument against building roads to relieve congestion is that it will simply induce more driving. This paper dispels that myth.
Quote: "Building roads at a rate that matches driving age population growth does not generate additional demand for travel on the road network in Canada. It is only when construction surpasses that rate of growth that a weak 'induced-travel effect' is apparent."
Economic Implications of Congestion (part one) (1.3-mb pdf)
Economic Implications of Congestion (part two) (1-mb pdf)
Author:Glen Weisbrod (Economic Development Research Group), Donald Vary (Cambridge Systematics), and George Treyz (Regional Economic Models)
Citation: National Cooperative Highway Research Program report 463, US DOT, 2001
Summary: The Texas Transportation Institute's mobility study calculates the cost of congestion to travelers in terms of time and fuel wasted. This report is much more comprehensive, measuring costs to shippers, consumers, employers, and others. While it does not calculate national totals, the calculations it makes has many implications for transport policy.
Quote: "When congestion reduction was assumed to be evenly distributed regionwide, the economic benefit was stilllargest for those businesses located on the periphery of the metropolitan area. . . . In contrast, when the congestion reduction was assumed to be centered around an area with many skilled and educated workers, the economic benefit was more broadly distributed among locations throughout the metropolitan area."
The Benefits of Accommodating Latent Demand (140-kb pdf)
Author:Joy Dahlgren, UC Berkeley
Citation: Presentation at the 2003 Transportation Research Board annual meeting
Summary: Increasing highway capacity leads to more driving. To highway opponents, this is "induced driving," but to economists, this represents "latent demand," i.e., people wanted to travel but wouldn't because of the congestion. Dahlgren identifies the benefits of adding capacity to accommodate such demand.
Quote: "When capacity is increased, people can leave later and still arrive on time. Another important benefit is the reduction in delay on alternate routes as people shift from these routes to the highway."
Are Induced-Travel Studies Inducing Bad Investments? (336-kb pdf)
Author:Robert Cervero
Citation: Access magazine, #22, Spring 2003, pp. 22-27.
Summary: Claims that new construction simply induces new traffic, so that "you can't build your way out of congestion," have led to bad transportation planning, says planner Robert Cervero.
Quote: "Have past methods properly specified the chain of events between added road capacity and traffic growth? I contend that most have not and that they have typically overstated induced-demand effects."
Transportation Energy Data Book: Edition 25 (2.3-mb pdf)
Author:Stacy Davis and Susan Diegel, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Citation: US Department of Energy, 2006
Summary: Presents data showing how much energy is consumed by various forms of transport, including energy cost per passenger mile by various highway and transit modes.

New Technologies

Evaluation of Adaptive Cruise Control in Mixed Traffic (372-kb pdf)
Author:David Levinson and Xi Zou, University of Minnesota
Citation: Working paper, 2002
Summary: Adaptive cruise control monitors the car in front and insures that your car never gets closer than a predetermined distance. To date, only expensive luxury cars have this option. But simulations indicate that, because computers have faster reaction times than people, once 20 percent of the cars on the road have this technology, some kinds of congestion will disappear.
Quote: "Variable Time Headway has better performance in terms of capacity and stability of traffic than Constant Time Headway" (two different types of adaptive cruise control).
Some Ideas for Freeway Congestion Mitigation with Advanced Technologies (128-kb pdf)
Author:Carlos F. Daganzo, Jorge Laval and Juan Carlos Munoz, UC Berkeley
Citation: University of California Transportation Center research paper 707, 2001,
Summary: Proposes a variety of techniques to reduce congestion, including limits on lane changes, more dynamic use of high-occupancy vehicle lanes, destination-specific ramp metering, improved merge controls. All of these could and should be tested.
Quote: "Preliminary empirical evidence shows that under certain conditions flows as high as 2,800 vehicles per hour per lane can be observed for long times on the median lane of a freeway, and that the total freeway flow can also be quite high. However, as soon as a queue forms, a lower bottleneck capacity is observed. It appears that a precursor to queue formation is a slight drop in speed on the median lanes."


Commuting in America, Executive Summary (2-MB pdf file)
Commuting in America, Part 1 (600-KB pdf file)
Commuting in America, Part 2 (1.5-MB pdf file)
Commuting in America, Part 3 (5.5-MB pdf file)
Commuting in America, Part 4 (328-KB pdf file)
Commuting in America, Appendix (256-KB pdf file)
Author: Alan Pisarski
Citation: Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board, 2006, 199 pp.
Summary: Compiles, reviews, and summarizes commuting data from the 2000 census and other data sources.
Quote: "From 1990-2000, about 64% of the growth in metropolitan commuting was in flows from suburb to suburb. Commuting from suburb to suburb rose in share from 44% of all metropolitan commuting in 1990 to 46% in 2000. The next largest growth area was the 'reverse commute' from central city to suburb, which . . . rose in share form 8% in 1990 to 9% in 2000. . . . Thus, suburban destinations received 83% of the growth while central cities obtained the remaining 17%."
The 2009 Urban Mobility Report (4.9-MB pdf file)
Author: David Schrank and Tim Lomax
Citation: Texas Transportation Institute (College Station, TX: Texas A&M, 2009), 133 pp.
Summary: Contains data on the growth of urban congestion in 85 major metropolitan areas from 1982 through 2007. Also estimates the costs of congestion in all U.S. metropolitan areas combined.
Quote: "In 2007, congestion caused urban Americans to travel 4.2 billion hours more and to purchase an extra 2.8 billion gallons of fuel for a congestion cost of $87.2 billion -- an increase of more than 50% over the previous decade."
Complete Mobility Data (1-MB Excel file)
Author: David Schrank and Tim Lomax
Citation: Texas Transportation Institute (College Station, TX: Texas A&M, 2007).
Summary: Spreadsheet presenting all the data from the above report, including miles of driving, miles of roads, delay, wasted fuel, transit ridership, and other information for 85 major urban areas for every year from 1982 through 2007. Also includes a summary of all 85 major urban areas and all 437 urban areas in the U.S. (multiply numbers by 85 or 437 to get national totals).