The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from Us Cities

47 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2009 Last revised: 8 Jul 2010

See all articles by Gilles Duranton

Gilles Duranton

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Geography and Environment; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Matthew Turner

University of Toronto

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 2009

Abstract

We investigate the relationship between interstate highways and highway vehicle kilometers traveled (VKT) in US cities. We find that VKT increases proportionately to highways and identify three important sources for this extra VKT: an increase in driving by current residents; an increase in transportation intensive production activity; and an inflow of new residents. The provision of public transportation has no impact on VKT. We also estimate the aggregate city level demand for VKT and find it to be very elastic. We conclude that an increased provision of roads or public transit is unlikely to relieve congestion.

Suggested Citation

Duranton, Gilles and Turner, Matthew A., The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from Us Cities (September 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w15376. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1478794

Gilles Duranton (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Geography and Environment ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 20 7955 7604 (Phone)
+44 20 7955 7412 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Matthew A. Turner

University of Toronto ( email )

Department of Economics
150 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G7
Canada

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