Regarding the recent Tribune editorial “There’s more than road construction ahead.” The Salt Lake City Transportation Advisory Board agrees with the editorial’s conclusion that highway capacity projects cause highway-induced traffic and highway-induced sprawl. We know from the research literature that every 10% increase in regional highway capacity leads to a 7% increase in driving in the region as people drive more frequently and farther and use alternative modes of travel less frequently.
And that is just in the first 10 years after construction.
Eventually highways fill up again. Build it and they will come.
Transit has a similar but much more benign effect on the built environment, causing transit-induced development around stations.
So, what is the answer to highway congestion that will really make a positive difference? A recent study published in the journal “Cities” suggests that the best answer to congestion is to raise highway user fees through gas taxes, parking charges, other user charges, and to build lots of local street connectivity — as in the Avenues and Daybreak.
Courtney Reeser is the chairwoman of Salt Lake City Transportation Advisory Board.