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Price Elasticity of Demand, Explained

Many transportation challenges could be solved by a more informed understanding of price elasticity of demand, according to this article.
December 17, 2019, 10am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Joe Cortright thinks that many transportation planners would flunk Economics 101, based on rampant misconceptions of one critical concept:

The most basic concept in economics is that higher prices lead to less consumption, yet this fact is routinely ignored in transportation planning and policy.

If we got the prices right, many of our most pressing transportation problems would be much easier to tackle[.]

The price of gasoline provides the clearest example of the concept, according to Cortright; i.e., higher fuel prices equate with less driving. The price of gas compared to the number of miles driven by Americans since the late 1990s illustrates Cortright's point.

Cortright explains the nuance of elasticity in more detail before noting that transportation planners often disregard price elasticity when planning future transportation routes. Portland's regional government, Metro, provides an example.

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Published on Monday, December 16, 2019 in City Observatory
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