“Do We Need More Freeways to Nowhere?”

No, says Robert Puente of the Brookings Institution, in this video accompanying a new report tracking the historic drop in car travel in the U.S. He also says it’s time to end the federal gas tax holiday — not the goofy one proposed during the election, but the more ridiculous one we’ve been on for the last two decades, during which time our infrastructure has been slowly going to seed (even as we busily build elsewhere).

(Via The Transportationist)

This entry was posted on Saturday, December 20th, 2008 at 2:22 pm and is filed under Roads, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to ““Do We Need More Freeways to Nowhere?””

  1. aaron Says:

    Where the road goes is important. I suspect that the switch from building small roads to parks to building large roads connecting active places was contributor to economic growth following WWII.

    I have my doubts about the effectiveness of a gas tax in improving efficiency. I’ve been comparing VMT and gasoline consumption with inflation adjusted price. Fuel efficiency goes down with higher prices.

    Even if it is revenue neutral, some inefficiencies need to be ironed out for it to be economically beneficial. We’re wasting more fuel than before, that’s part of why the economy is down. People don’t respond well to excessive penalties, just like excessive rewards. An extreme example is Learned Helplessness.

    1.People are at their limit of how much driving they will tolerate. This means we get giffen behavior when gas prices increase. People spend more time driving for work, when there’s lots of traffic, just to get ends to meet, and shift driving away from less congested times.

    2. People have big misconceptions about what is efficient. Driving slower saves fuel, when you’re driving above 55mph. Below 40mph, driving faster is more efficient. Accelerating faster is about the same, or slightly more efficient, than accelerating slowly. Typical car engines don’t see efficiency drop off until after 3000rpms.

    3. Tragedy of the commons. About the most fuel efficient behavior you could adopt is avoiding braking. However, if you do this during congestion, you prevent cars from clearing into your queue and create more bottlenecks. Starting from a stop is the big gas waster. A stop can take 6 times more fuel than a rolling stop.

    4. Unfortunately, when times are lean (which happens when gas prices are high) people return to more conservative dress and traditional work hours to compete for jobs. This may lead to more congestion.

    Gas demand is inelastic in the short term, but I think this is because it is the most basic input of economic activity. It takes a long time for the effects to ripple out to the point that prices rise and incomes fall and people stop working and investing.

Leave a Reply

Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

Please send tips, news, research papers, links, photos (bad road signs, outrageous bumper stickers, spectacularly awful acts of driving or parking or anything traffic-related), or ideas for my Transport column to me at:

For publicity inquiries, please contact Kate Runde at Vintage:

For editorial inquiries, please contact Zoe Pagnamenta at The Zoe Pagnamenta Agency:

For speaking engagement inquiries, please contact
Kim Thornton at the Random House Speakers Bureau:

Order Traffic from:

Amazon | B&N | Borders
Random House | Powell’s

U.S. Paperback UK Paperback
Traffic UK
Drive-on-the-left types can order the book from

For UK publicity enquiries please contact Rosie Glaisher at Penguin.

Upcoming Talks

April 9, 2008.
California Office of Traffic Safety Summit
San Francisco, CA.

May 19, 2009
University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies
Bloomington, MN

June 23, 2009
Driving Assessment 2009
Big Sky, Montana

June 26, 2009
PRI World Congress
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

June 27, 2009
Day of Architecture
Utrecht, The Netherlands

July 13, 2009
Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals (ATSIP)
Phoenix, AZ.

August 12-14
Texas Department of Transportation “Save a Life Summit”
San Antonio, Texas

September 2, 2009
Governors Highway Safety Association Annual Meeting
Savannah, Georgia

September 11, 2009
Oregon Transportation Summit
Portland, Oregon

October 8
Honda R&D Americas
Raymond, Ohio

October 10-11
INFORMS Roundtable
San Diego, CA

October 21, 2009
California State University-San Bernardino, Leonard Transportation Center
San Bernardino, CA

November 5
Southern New England Planning Association Planning Conference
Uncasville, Connecticut

January 6
Texas Transportation Forum
Austin, TX

January 19
Yale University
(with Donald Shoup; details to come)

Monday, February 22
Yale University School of Architecture
Eero Saarinen Lecture

Friday, March 19
University of Delaware
Delaware Center for Transportation

April 5-7
University of Utah
Salt Lake City
McMurrin Lectureship

April 19
International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (Organization Management Workshop)
Austin, Texas

Monday, April 26
Edmonton Traffic Safety Conference
Edmonton, Canada

Monday, June 7
Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals
Niagara Falls, Ontario

Wednesday, July 6
Fondo de Prevención Vial
Bogotá, Colombia

Tuesday, August 31
Royal Automobile Club
Perth, Australia

Wednesday, September 1
Australasian Road Safety Conference
Canberra, Australia

Wednesday, September 22

Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s
Traffic Incident Management Enhancement Program
Statewide Conference
Wisconsin Dells, WI

Wednesday, October 20
Rutgers University
Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
Piscataway, NJ

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre
Injury Prevention Forum

Monday, May 2
Idaho Public Driver Education Conference
Boise, Idaho

Tuesday, June 2, 2011
California Association of Cities
Costa Mesa, California

Sunday, August 21, 2011
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Attitudes: Iniciativa Social de Audi
Madrid, Spain

April 16, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Gardens Theatre, QUT
Brisbane, Australia

April 17, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Centennial Plaza, Sydney
Sydney, Australia

April 19, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne, Australia

January 30, 2013
University of Minnesota City Engineers Association Meeting
Minneapolis, MN

January 31, 2013
Metropolis and Mobile Life
School of Architecture, University of Toronto

February 22, 2013
ISL Engineering
Edmonton, Canada

March 1, 2013
Australian Road Summit
Melbourne, Australia

May 8, 2013
New York State Association of
Transportation Engineers
Rochester, NY

August 18, 2013 “Ingenuity” Conference
San Francisco, CA

September 26, 2013
TransComm 2013
(Meeting of American Association
of State Highway and Transportation
Officials’ Subcommittee on Transportation
Grand Rapids MI



December 2008
« Nov   Jan »

No, you probably won be compensated one million dollars; however, with the right blend of negotiating skills and patience, your efforts will be substantially rewarded!I have seen up to forty thousand dollars added to starting compensation through diligent negotiations. It is a way to significantly raise your standard of living and sense of self, simply by