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Does Peak Car Mean the End of Induced Demand?

Aaron Renn provides a dissenting argument on the implications of peak car, namely, "if we’ve really reached peak car, maybe we really can build our way out of congestion after all."
December 6, 2014, 7am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Aaron Renn builds his argument about a counterintuitive implication of peak car on data about the unprecedented decline of vehicle miles traveled since 2005, which has left U.S. Department of Transportation traffic projections (and many others) way off target. In doing so, Renn acknowledges that many freeway projects, driven by "speculative demand," should be questioned. 

Yet in a novel twist, Renn argues that induced demand has a flip side: "In a world of peak car, where traffic levels are flat to declining on a per capita basis, induced demand no longer holds court, certainly not to the level claimed by those who believe it’s pointless to build roads." Even in perpetually congested places like Los Angeles, suggests Renn, "peak car strengthens the argument for building or expanding roads."

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Published on Friday, December 5, 2014 in New Geography
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