Induced Traffic

Follow Marin Events

• HomeUpInduced TrafficLet San Quentin be San Rafael's answer to TiburonUrban sprawl isnot from roadsBikepath instead of Rail •
•  •

I heard this from a SR employee "You cannot build your way out of congestion" (build freeway that is). "People will just say 'I don't have to take transit, I'll take the freeway' ".
I ask:- how many of the 18,000 Sonomans who daily commute to Marin are able to take a bus right now? (not to mention the 21,000 others who daily commute to Marin) 
"Highways don't cause traffic," said Kassoff, now vice president of highway programs for the Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. engineering firm. He dismissed the notion of induced travel as "simplistic."
Here's what happens. They widen the freeway. Developers see that people are content to live in the suburbs with their cheaper detached house and now a reasonable commute. They subsequently over-develop (not just "around" the freeway) with no restrictions from local government's Planning. And in about 5 to 8 years the freeway is as congested again.

So everyone immediately blames the larger freeway as the reason why there is more development !   In fact, of course, the   direct reason for freeway congestion is the indiscriminate government's approval of development;  this is your "induced traffic" :-   Planners disregarding traffic instead of using it as an environmental disqualification of new development.

So the DIRECT solution to freeway congestion is to RESTRICT DEVELOPMENT.
We need Environmental Impact Reports to rigorously include restrictions on development where freeway capacity is insufficient.

We need to ensure freeway congestion does not return 5 to 8 years after freeway expansion. Returning because Government Planning is not  prioritizing freeway expansion over rail AND uncontrolled development.

You see, freeway expansion not only improves auto commuting but bus commuting too.
Bus Rapid Transit systems have lower capital costs than Light Rail systems and provide similar performance with more flexible routing. And BUSWAYs have better performance

Politicians rather than "knee-jerking" simplistic, "popular" projects must instead consult objective NATIONAL Research Groups and Academics that have studied the impacts transport has made on our society, quality of life, and environment. Otherwise we waste hard to garner public money that should instead be directed to cost effective projects benefiting the maximum number of people as well as providing the greatest improvement in our environment (a solution that may not be so obviously seen by most). 
Convincing people to take rail instead of drive is a historically proven, futile goal. Only partially achieved when driving conditions become inordinately bad. Convincing people NOT to live in the suburbs and choose a smaller house/lot is similarly, a futile goal. In fact so few people use rail there are 3-5 times more person-miles travelled on one freeway lane than a rail track. More than $300 billion in US public subsidies have been expended to support transit --- this amount rivals what was spent to build the entire interstate highway. 

 Here is what's wrong with the Countywide Plan, please include these comments:-

RAIL STRATEGIES:   a) Develop a long-term vision for transit-station locations and parking that would include demand under the Sonoma County build-out.    (Surely we must establish if rail is a viable alternative for Marin in the first place. These strategies assume a rail system for Marin is a done deal. The strategy should be to consult the NATIONAL EXPERTS on Rail for their recommendations. Especially when the Traffic Consultant we're using is Nelson Nygaard, who I quote:- "Adding lanes to Highway 1 (even HOV or commuter lanes) is highly unlikely to relieve traffic congestion" is still mis-directing us on "induced traffic"). )

m) The freeway needs to be widened and more people allowed to move to Marin.   (It is developers that  "allow people to move to Marin", not Freeway. More to blame for increasing the population is local government planners (not freeway expansion). )

j) An overarching goal needs to be to decrease the miles driven in automobiles, not widen the freeway.   (You can never decrease auto miles driven unless you turn the freeway into a parking lot.) 

 k) People need to be further encouraged to use public transit.    (People don't want to use transit unless the alternative is very much slower or expensive.)

l) Marin has done a great job of protecting the environment but not linking the economy and housing to public transportation. (True for Auto transportation, mostly) 

a) 54% of local transit users need to transfer from one bus to another or from one mode
source to another to get to their destinations.
See how busing from the hundreds of thousands of affordable houses, ( just 7-12 miles away, in East Bay,) can be so much cheaper than paying for affordable housing here: )

a) Lower-density development of large homes continues because of the profitability and market for this
type of development.
   ( And because 1 house on 5 acres is better for the environment than 5.) 

d) Higher-density development uses fewer resources such as water for landscaping and energy because
of the shared building walls.
       (Except where large lots invariably water only a small percentage of the lot. And where the large roofing area can generate PV solar energy.  )

Freeway Expansion causes LESS Air Pollutiuon :-
"our analysis disclosed that deterioration in air quality has generally worked in favor of road expansion, ostensibly as a means of improving traffic flows" this is in the conclusion of The study used as the "Induced Traffic Bible" .    
That means that this study, (used to justify the whole concept of "Induced Traffic")  totally reverses one of the "supposed" drawbacks of increasing roadway, AIR POLLUTION, espoused by the same "Induced Traffic" pontiffs.
Slower moving congested traffic creates MORE Exhaust Air Pollution than faster traffic. AND moving faster is more energy efficient.

Fact is, in Marin, we need freeway expansion NOW. The development in Sonoma (and Marin to some extent) has already happened and is already gridlocking us. Rail will do VERY little to relieve this congestion as it has done very little EVERYWHERE else in the country. Rail can only be justified in the most densely populated metropolitan areas. 
Development at St. Vincent, Hamilton etc.... will just be a matter of time if rail is implemented. 

Lets not misdirect funding away from freeway expansion to a rail system that will do nothing to relieve congestion.