Stuck in Traffic: Coping with Peak-Hour Traffic Congestion

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Brookings Institution Press, Jul 26, 2000 - Business & Economics - 224 pages
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Peak-hour traffic congestion has become a major problem in most U.S. cities. In fact, a majority of residents in metropolitan and suburban areas consider congestion their most serious local problem. As citizens have become increasingly frustrated by repeated traffic delays that cost them money and waste time, congestion has become an important factor affecting local government policies in many parts of the nation.

In this new book, Anthony Downs looks at the causes of worsening traffic congestion, especially in suburban areas, and considers the possible remedies. He analyzes the specific advantages and disadvantages of every major strategy that has been proposed to reduce congestion. In nontechnical language, he focuses on two central issues: the relationships between land-use and traffic flow in rapidly growing areas, and whether local policies can effectively reduce congestion or if more regional approaches are necessary.

In rapidly growing parts of the country, congestion is worse than it was five or ten years ago. But Downs notes that the problem has apparently not yet become bad enough to stimulate effective responses. Neither government officials nor citizens seem willing to consider changing the behavior and public policies that cause congestion. To alleviate the problem, both groups must be prepared to make these fundamental changes. Selected by Choice as an Outstanding Book of 1992 Co-published with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy


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Causes of Recent Increases in Traffic Congestion
Strategies for Reducing Congestion and Four Traffic Principles
Increasing Carrying Capacity
PeakHour Road Pricing
DemandSide Remedies That Focus on Behavior
Remedies that Increase Residential Densities
Changing the JobsHousing Balance
Concentrating Jobs in Large Clusters
The Need for Regional Anticongestion Policies
Summary and Conclusions
Graphic Analysis of PeakHour Road Pricing
Translating Gross Residential Densities into Net Residential Densities
A Spatial Model for Simulating Changes in Residential Density and Home and Workplace Locations
Clustering HighDensity Housing near Suburban Transit Stops

Local GrowthManagement Policies

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Page 10 - The total number of miles traveled by all motor vehicles annually soared by 80 percent between 1980 and 2000.

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About the author (2000)

Anthony Downs is a senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution. His specialties are housing, real estate, real estate finance, metropolitan planning, demographics, and transportation. His books include New Visions for Metropolitan America (Brookings/Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, 1994), and Still Stuck in Traffic: Coping with Peak-Hour Traffic Congestion (Brookings, 2004).

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