Game-changing research from the University of Toronto has complicated matters for both road builders and mass-transit advocates alike. We've known for a some time now that new roads and highways only serve to increase traffic flows and congestion. Hence the loud holler by sustainable-city advocates opt for high-density mass transit instead.
But what the research reveals to everyone's surprise is that mass transit also increases traffic flows. But of course! By freeing road space, more folks take to their cars, which, naturally, creates congestion anew. As the researchers indicate, this doesn't mean mass transit is useless, since it works for those who find it cheaper and more convenient.
The clear and unequivocal conclusion, then: Don't build more roads! The goal is to develop or redevelop high-density cities and urban areas with great mass transit and other alternatives to cars, and either not build new roads or disincentivize driving in other ways.
The study is great for everyone in the alternative transportation business. The trick is to influence local-level public officials and get them to get the message.
Highway to hell: More roads = more traffic