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What is induced traffic?


Investment in new or up-graded roads both raises the level and alters the pattern of accessibility over the whole area served by the road system. Vehicle-users will perceive the opportunities that this increased accessibility offers and respond in various ways, most of which can lead to more rather than less travel on the system. To the extent that travel increases overall, it can be said to have been induced by the road-improvement. Conversely, congestion as it spreads on the network will deter some travel and can be said to have a “traffic suppression” effect.

The purpose of this first paper is to spell out, as clearly as possible, what is meant by “induced” traffic and to relate its various components to the full range of behavioural responses by travellers. In doing so, it draws upon the recently published (December 1994) report by the Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment (SACTRA) and response by the UK Government. The paper concludes with some of the implications of induced/suppressed traffic for current methods of forecasting and evaluation of road investment, which are covered in more detail by subsequent authors.

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Hills, P.J. What is induced traffic?. Transportation 23, 5–16 (1996).

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Key words

  • induced traffic
  • suppression