Manville Explains ‘Induced Demand’ on Congested Highways

Associate Professor of Urban Planning Michael Manville appeared on KCRW’s “Greater L.A.” podcast to discuss the practicality of freeway expansion projects. The I-605 Corridor Improvement Project is a massive freeway expansion plan that would add new lanes and exit ramps along 16 miles of I-605 and a stretch of the I-5 and other highways in southeastern Los Angeles County. However, Manville argued that “there’s no situation in a vital growing economy under which expanding a roadway to fight congestion makes much sense.” Highway space is valuable land that should be priced accordingly, he said. “We offer it to people for no direct charge,” Manville explained. “And so as a result, at times when lots of people would like to use it, there is more demand for the highway than there is actual highway in existence, and we end up with congestion.” He suggests charging for use of the roadway to deter just enough people from driving to avoid traffic congestion.

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