Numerous studies have documented the phenomenon known as induced demand in transportation: Basically, if you build highway lanes, more drivers will come. And yet, transportation agencies rarely account for this effect when planning road projects.
Standard practice for the highway planners at state DOTs is to sacrifice all other concerns at the altar of fast car traffic. Nowhere has the effect been more obviously detrimental than Detroit, where the overbuilt freeway system helped hollow out one of America's largest cities. But highway planners in Michigan are starting to listen to people who say they want something different.
Nowhere is the culture of permissiveness more apparent, or deadly, than in Texas, where about 3,500 people lose their lives in traffic every year. It is one of just four states that doesn't ban texting and driving.
Motorists with smart phones use their devices in 88 out of every 100 trips, according to data collected by Zendrive, a company that assesses driving behavior using the sensors in smart phones. Extrapolating to the entire population, Zendrive estimates there are about 600 million trips involving distracted driving in the U.S. each day.
Mexico City Mayor Miguel Mancera is pursuing a sweeping overhaul of the city's parking policy that's expected to do away with minimum parking requirements and generate revenue for transit and affordable housing. If enacted, the reforms could set an important precedent for cities in North and South America.
To solve the "first and last mile problem," there's no substitute for walkability.