Wachs on Understanding the History of L.A. Traffic

A StreetsBlog article highlighted the findings of a new paper by Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning Martin Wachs and graduate students Peter Sebastian Chesney and Yu Hong Hwang about the history of Los Angeles traffic congestion. Their paper, “A Century of Fighting Traffic Congestion in Los Angeles: 1920-2020,” delves into the many arguments over how to battle congestion in the city over the last 100 years. While solutions including improvements in public transit and construction of new freeways have been proposed, these strategies have never brought more than a temporary reprieve from the unrelenting growth in congestion, the authors say. They argue that in order to address traffic congestion today, experts must understand the city’s complicated history with public transit and transportation infrastructure. Today’s proposals are not much different from past solutions, and even though mistakes have been made, it’s not clear that lessons have been learned, they wrote.


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