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Empirical evidence on induced traffic

A review and synthesis


Disparate evidence indicates that the provision of extra road capacity results in a greater volume of traffic. The amount of extra traffic must be heavily dependent on the context, size and location of road schemes, but an appropriate average value is given by an elasticity of traffic volume with respect to travel time of about −0.5 in the short term, and up to −1.0 in the long term. As a result, an average road improvement has induced an additional 10% of base traffic in the short term and 20% in the long term: individual schemes with induced traffic at double this level may not be very unusual, especially for peak periods. Induced traffic is particularly seen on the alternative routes that road improvements are intended to relieve.

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Goodwin, P.B. Empirical evidence on induced traffic. Transportation 23, 35–54 (1996).

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