More Evidence of the Economic Upsides to Traffic

Because it forces infill and efficient transit, among other things, traffic is actually good per capita GDP and jobs.

June 10, 2018, 7:00 AM PDT

By Casey Brazeal @northandclark

Statistics about time wasted in traffic and the cost it puts on society are as old as traffic itself, but a new study suggests congestion is actually good for economies Robert Steuteville reports for CNU.

How can wasted time be good? The authors of this study based on 89 US regions over 30 years say traffic pushes builders to create infill development, motivates efficient mobility like walking, biking and transit and gets people to live closer to where they want to work and entertain themselves. Whatever the reasons, they find congestion is positively connected to increases in jobs and per capita GDP.

"For our regions, peak hour delay had a statistically significant and positive effect on both per capita GDP and jobs. This suggests that our current concerns about traffic congestion negatively impacting the economy may not be particularly well founded," the authors of the study, Wes Marshall and Eric Dumbaugh write. The authors hope their study will inspire deeper research into what kind of congestion motivates useful adaptations, and what doesn't, but they feel confident that they've proven that congested roads don't lead to big economic losses.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018 in Public Square: A CNU Journal


What We Really Mean When We Say Gentrification

The focus on gentrifying communities has, in many cases, eclipsed the similar problems facing more stagnant neighborhoods.

September 14, 2021 - Vox

Brooklyn Redevelopment

Study: Market-Rate Development Filters Into Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing

New research sheds new light on one of the most hotly debated questions in planning and development.

September 15, 2021 - Full Stack Economics

Los Angeles, California

The End of Single-Family Zoning in California

Despite a few high-profile failures, the California State Legislature has approved a steady drumbeat of pro-development reforms that loosen zoning restrictions. The state raised the stakes on its zoning reforms this week.

September 19, 2021 - Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.