Over at Human Transit, Jarrett has an excellent discussion of the relationship between road congestion and transit, focusing on why transit will generally not reduce congestion, but is still a worthwhile investment for improving mobility and economic activity.
The only point I might add is that over the long term good land use planning is also an effective tool to manage congestion (it can’t happen fast enough to reduce congestion, but it can certainly help slow its growth over time, or allow development of new areas with radically less congestion than they might otherwise have).
I’m also intrigued by Jarrett’s point that exclusive transit lanes are also very useful for emergency vehicles. I wonder if protected bikeways could be developed with the same benefit?
A reminder that Jarrett is visiting Portland tomorrow!
2 responses to “An Intelligent View of Congestion with a Digression to Emergency Vehicles”
Another relevant post by Jarrett is one on something the city of Barcelona is doing to improve the service of (some of) its bus lines–a step between signal priority and exclusive bus lanes:
Barcelona is starting to, in the (translated) words of a local official, treat busses like ambulences. Certain bus lines are essentially being given (by law) priority treatment in traffic similar to that usually only enjoyed by emergency vehicles–when the bus comes by, drivers are expected to pull over and let it pass. This is being done differently for busses–lane control devices are being employed along the routes in question to inform drivers when to make way, as bus passengers probably wouldn’t appreciate traveling on a vehicle with a loud siren.
I wonder if it isn’t time to start talking about commercial vehicle lanes that serve emergency, transit and freight operations, but not individual automobiles. They could even allow those “jitneys” that are so popular with right-wing transportation geeks, if not with any actual providers. If one of the through lanes on I5 was dedicated to that kind of high value traffic, it would do a lot to reduce the negative impacts of traffic further downstream.