How highways make traffic worse

12-Fev, 2021
1 241 250 Ko‘rishlar soni

Expanding highways doesn't do what you think it does.
Subscribe and turn on notifications (🔔 ) so you don't miss any videos:
Big, expensive highway expansion projects are the source of a lot US transportation funding - but they aren't a silver bullet for congestion relief. In communities that were built for cars, solving traffic problems requires much more holistic problem-solving.
At 1:00, we show a bar graph of travel times on the Katy Freeway that was originally put together by City Observatory, which has covered the Katy Freeway expansion project at length:
This video was based in large part on research by Gilles Duranton and Matthew A. Turner:
For more reading on induced demand:
For Kyle Shelton's work on urbanism: is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out
Watch our full video catalog:
Follow Vox on Facebook:
Or Twitter:

  • Correction: At 5:12, we use Boston as an example of a successful urban highway removal project that resulted in congestion-reduction. Many of you correctly pointed out that this example isn’t quite right, because they moved several highway lanes underground. You can read more about that project here: When it comes to congestion-reduction, highway removal projects are inherently complicated, but here is more information about some of the environmental and racial justice impacts of a proposed federal plan to remove urban highways:

    VoxVoxOy oldin
    • After the removal of the highway of I-93 and replacement with a boulevard with bicycle and bus lanes and better sidewalks in the '90s, in the 2000s, however, the tunnel of I-93 was constructed but traffic doesn't last long until Boston became the most congested city in the US.

      8-Bit Emerald Enzo8-Bit Emerald Enzo3 kun oldin
    • San Francisco would have been a better example instead.

      jsfan882jsfan88211 kun oldin
    • @Nomad624 vox is being pretty disingenuous about the 62% reduction. Firstly it was a 62% reduction in vehicle hours on i-93 and other adjoining roads, which doesn't necessarily mean fewer cars, it's possible the same number of cars were just able to move faster, reducing vehicle time on the road. Secondly, if you read details about the project and it's impact on traffic, it's very clear that improvements didn't come from moving the highway, they came from improving the connections between the highway and other major arteries to make those transitions happen more smoothly and at a higher speed. So basically the 62% improvement came from making connections between roads better, not from removing a highway or reducing capacity.

      Rachel CoxRachel Cox15 kun oldin
    • The Big Dig was a collosal failure in terms of cost overruns.

      WalterWalter20 kun oldin
    • They didnt remove the highway in Boston. They moved it underground.

      Tor-Erik BakkeTor-Erik Bakke24 kun oldin
  • It doesnt help that the government contracts these projects the incompetent clowns and over pay them. Seattle has been working on a tunnel and light rail system for what? 20 years?

    Iambetterthanyou seriouslyIambetterthanyou seriously18 soat oldin
  • We dont need EVs or huge highways, all we need is public transport but that solution is way too boring.

    Kiwi BlueKiwi Blue2 kun oldin
  • I'm sure adding more lanes also increases congestion because of lane changes. When it's busy, every time a car changes into a new lane it makes the existing traffic slow down a bit too make room, so if you expand to a 20 lane road you must increase all the lane changes going on

    doctornick666doctornick6663 kun oldin
  • Just tax more on people with private cars to fund the Public Transportation System.

  • The Katy Freeway still holds the title as the widest freeway in the world with actually having 29 lanes. The second widest is Ontario Highway 401 through Mississauga with 22 lanes.

    8-Bit Emerald Enzo8-Bit Emerald Enzo3 kun oldin
  • This is what happens when your in a country that doesn’t care about public transportation like trains and busses

    Just ViennaJust Vienna3 kun oldin
  • The Katy Highway looks like something from my nightmares. Knowing me I'd get so lost with all those lanes

    Nombuso MlamboNombuso Mlambo4 kun oldin
  • Can’t just make bike lanes that lead to nowhere (talking to you Vancouver planners)

    R BR B6 kun oldin
  • Wrote a whole dissertation on this topic. It’s very interesting

    Yetunde KingYetunde King8 kun oldin
  • think: almost every car has 1 person inside it. a bus holds 30-40. remove 30 cars from traffic jam and add 1 bus. do this a multitude of times and the traffic becomes smoother

    laineotto1laineotto19 kun oldin
  • Great video

    Aly pixarAly pixar9 kun oldin
  • People be building more bridges on places with no river than those that have lol

    宮崎庄部フルール宮崎庄部フルール11 kun oldin
  • the governments in all of the world are weird

    Af_Mobile OfficialAf_Mobile Official14 kun oldin
  • Very interesting 👍

    Biffa Plays Indie GamesBiffa Plays Indie Games15 kun oldin
    • Hi

      Bill ClintonBill Clinton3 kun oldin
    • Hi

      Gustavo GomesGustavo Gomes13 kun oldin
  • They explained it bad.

    It's Just SpeculationIt's Just Speculation15 kun oldin
  • We need to be creating housing/transit/business sectors in cities and only use highways as connections between.

    William DiazWilliam Diaz17 kun oldin
  • The adorable gas dewailly pick because utensil beverly fold apropos a chief daffodil. black-and-white, exotic value

    Tony DarosaTony Darosa19 kun oldin
  • At 1:02, there is mention of a simple economic theory that explains why building more lanes does not reduce congestion. This theory is the law of demand and supply. More highways (supply) leads to more cars taking to the roads (demand), so congestion never goes away. While this is interesting and in large part accurate, this is actually NOT the main reason why more lanes and highways fail to reduce congestion in urban centers. The real reason hinges on a different economic concept known as output. In other words, reducing congestion should address the most critical bottleneck. And the bottleneck was never "how many cars can I have on a highway" but instead at what rate can I get them to exit the highway. In most infrastructure projects, adding lanes to highways essentially equates to adding "storage capacity" to the highway, which is absolutely nonsensical. The real issue is with the number of exits and their respective outputs, which are the only elements that really require fixing. Highways with 10, 15, etc. lanes across are a complete aberration and waste of capital. Now on incentives and highway removal, this is something that can be accepted for aesthetical reasons (e.g. Boston where it was buried) or if maintenance costs spiral out of control. But it really is a cowardly decision when so many other superior options to incentivize exist, they only require more courage. That being said, there is no argument that building highways and adding lanes the way it's been done the past few decades is lazy and aggravates America's already sub-par infrastructure.

    HadrienLBBHadrienLBB20 kun oldin
  • I lived within walking distance of this interchange for about 20 years. Then, I became head engineer for Atlanta for 20 years. This is an excellent video for the layperson, or even the expert. I've built many $ 100M+ Interchanges, that when finished, were already obsolete when they were opened. I am proud of one thing: That I was as influential as anybody in building Atlantic Station in midtown Atlanta, which is a true live, work, and play community.

    WalterWalter20 kun oldin
  • It is sad to see a short documentary about traffic congestion and hear the final frase: "If you build it, they will come". Looks as if people having to go to work far from their homes are the guilty ones. Of course a highway expansion is built for more and more people in cars. But, what comes first? The demand that generates more infrastructure, or, is the infrastruture that generates demand? Should people stop living far from their jobs and move downtown? Should people stop getting financially better? Should people stop buying cars? Definitely there is not only one and/or easy solution. Some actions we can take, and government policies may be: decentralization of (commercial and administrative) working areas, creating new decentralize workplaces. More, and more, and better trains and metros (when possible underground), a slight change in the US addiction for big cars, more comfortable buses. And, more recently, coworking spaces and offices, more home-schooling, and, the newest, home-office. In a near future, the constant people's movements made by autonomous vehicles, or, autonomous aerial drones. If we do it, we wil use it!

    Francisco MendesFrancisco Mendes20 kun oldin
  • its almost like population grew over the years

    Nazz_23Nazz_2322 kun oldin
  • Make more cities! Then everyone isn’t all trying to get to one place.

    Chris YehChris Yeh22 kun oldin
  • 0:49 "*Perry* Pushes *Katy* Freeway Widening Project In Houston" Katy Perry ┌|o^▽^o|┘♪

    Lala LandLala Land22 kun oldin
  • Thanks! A good argument for replacing road space with cycling paths!

    Vasco Amaral GriloVasco Amaral Grilo23 kun oldin
  • Moral of the story: there are simply far too many of these redundant human bodies and many of them just need to be killed off.

    Green-Pill NeoGreen-Pill Neo23 kun oldin
  • What about we get planes... everything is a highway

    Tanner WillliamsTanner Willliams23 kun oldin
  • So first they spend billions to build highways and now spending billions to remove them 🤦 seems like America has wayy too much money !

    Akshay DesaiAkshay Desai24 kun oldin
  • You can expand but you also have to toll the road and ideally have congestion pricing.

    Tor-Erik BakkeTor-Erik Bakke24 kun oldin
  • I figured out how to fix this issue. It's called the 21 hour city. Vs the 8 hour city. It's brilliant.

    Jonathan TurekJonathan Turek24 kun oldin
  • Widening a highway is like upgrading your computer's processor while still using a magnet disc hard drive.

    PseudynomPseudynom24 kun oldin
  • Work from home

    useruser25 kun oldin
  • because u ppl dont know how to use lane properly

    Alivindra RamadhanAlivindra Ramadhan25 kun oldin
  • *Laughs in Europe*

    Donatella _Donatella _25 kun oldin
  • The rare drawbridge subjectively hop because kamikaze comprehensively empty versus a busy wax. befitting, terrible team

    Noel WinniNoel Winni25 kun oldin
  • Isn't this like the 10th video y'all have done on this subject. So you all haven't added anything new.

    Michael GonzalezMichael Gonzalez26 kun oldin
  • Highways are a strategy defense asset

    Andrew RicoAndrew Rico26 kun oldin
  • So all this work on the 405 is for nothing. All my friends in OC reading this know what I’m talking about

    Almighty Sosa300Almighty Sosa30026 kun oldin
  • how highways make better space for traffic

    kohkoh26 kun oldin
  • automobiles are anti-life, roads are rivers of death the solution is civilizational collapse

    signifi delicasignifi delica27 kun oldin
  • If you build it, they will come! Like Jay Foreman's video on cyclists in London

    InterCity 125 Trains and AviationInterCity 125 Trains and Aviation27 kun oldin
  • The solution is very simple: make high speed rail go from large car parks to city centres. Set the trains to be large capacity and run more of them.

    KiLLJoYKiLLJoY27 kun oldin
    • doesn't need HSR for that ^^

      EnjoyFirefighting - International Emergency Response VideosEnjoyFirefighting - International Emergency Response Videos27 kun oldin
  • I love vox so much ugh

    Still not someone you knowStill not someone you know28 kun oldin
  • I think there should be a balance. I mean you cant just reduce it to 2 lanes altogether and expect the reduced "induced demand" to solve the problem.

    marryson123marryson12328 kun oldin
    • don't go for extreme options but rather choose soft ones; thus e.g. a highway entering my state's capital city goes from 3 lanes to 5 lanes some miles outside the city and slowly goes down to 2 lanes the more it gets into the city and it works; Although you'll recognize rush hour, there aren't traffic jams on a daily basis

      EnjoyFirefighting - International Emergency Response VideosEnjoyFirefighting - International Emergency Response Videos27 kun oldin
  • How highways make traffic high

    Toaster 2000Toaster 200029 kun oldin
  • Take a lesson from Singapore, they've reduced their traffic by making cars expensive. Increase the tax on cars, increase the price of cars & make it hard for people to buy cars; these are the steps that will lead to a reduction in traffic. 🇸🇬🇸🇬

    Anirudh KumarAnirudh Kumar29 kun oldin
  • haha

    Ryan LaiRyan LaiOy oldin
  • The day the US government charges drivers a tax for congestion is the day the country will be overthrown by reactionaries.

    persimmonpersimmonOy oldin
  • If only oil companies didn’t lobby and prevent subways and trains from being built. The US seriously needs a subway system along the country and I’m glad I’m not the only one who realizes that.

    A Logical Girl Once saidA Logical Girl Once saidOy oldin
  • But if people make use of it, it means there was ALREADY a demand for it. In a way, it does help, because more people can access the highway that otherwise would have been forced to use alternative means.

    BastiprotonBastiprotonOy oldin
  • So u mean if the highways wasn’t raciest

    JP SchlechtJP SchlechtOy oldin
  • I’m from Houston and I have the best solution for traffic just need the right way to get it out there and noticed

    Juan PanamenoJuan PanamenoOy oldin
  • The quaint sunflower peroperatively wonder because church partially shop about a real washer. necessary, slimy mistake

    pudpud kirkpatrickpudpud kirkpatrickOy oldin
  • I got a great idea, Limit immigration. Less people less congestion. Maybe the infrastructure can’t handle the mass increase in population.

    Kicking Against The PricksKicking Against The PricksOy oldin
    • @Simon Dahl 20,000,000 up to 30,000,000 not enough? And that’s the Illegal number. Now try the legal Number and I think there’s more than enough.

      Kicking Against The PricksKicking Against The Pricks28 kun oldin
    • Eh, immigration is not close to being large enough to cause the problem.

      Simon DahlSimon Dahl28 kun oldin

    Tomy BebeTomy BebeOy oldin
  • I don’t think there are roads worst than the ones in Atlanta

    CuhCuhOy oldin
  • People can't drive and we need to stop giving licenses to everyone

    EnviousChiefEnviousChiefOy oldin
  • Trains are kind of a magic bullet tho, because if you build them right and build enough of them, you can actually soak up all the latent traffic that is waiting for a spot to open up. The fundamental problem of congestion is throughput per square meter. Individual drivers in individual cars is just an inefficient use of space, one person takes up several car lengths on a lane, and that is when traffic is flowing smoothly and most efficiently. When there is an accident, or even just a near miss and a few people break hard, it puts a traffic jam into the stream that drops the throughput efficiency down even further. Self driving cars will help, they will crash less, maintain safer distances and need hard braking less often, and can potentially even be programmed to smooth out stop and go traffic to decrease drive times, but they also come with a drawback, which is that sometimes they'll be on the road empty, further reducing the number of passengers able to use the limited amount of roads. Trains on the other hand can fit scores of people in the space that could only fit a dozen cars.

    ArgenArgenOy oldin
  • Similar to how some people think that printing more money will actually make them richer

    Kedara KrishnaKedara KrishnaOy oldin
  • More trains!

    Carl SiemensCarl SiemensOy oldin
  • Can someone explain to me why people like public transportation, I am from NYC. Everyone says its better than driving but its the most overrated thing about the city.

    Chris CChris COy oldin
  • This can easily be solved by autonomous driving as it’ll be all synced up correctly

    Omar MartinezOmar MartinezOy oldin
  • There are various factors. Yes, suburban sprawl adds to traffic. To relieve congestion, you want to put new office buildings or factories outside in the suburbs instead of in the city. Now, employees are driving opposite the congestion and not adding to it. City developers want to attract employers for more tax and improve their local economy, so they don't want large employers to open up their businesses in the suburb so there's a battle when it comes land improvement/real estate projects.

    AAI6718AAI6718Oy oldin
  • The small camera largely tickle because golf undesirably gather past a vigorous scanner. eager, elite kimberly

    lmk lmklmk lmkOy oldin
  • Don’t Americans use trains lol

    Lemon BoyLemon BoyOy oldin
  • Ending traffic is far from simple? Uh no. Its called expansive public transit. But we dont have money for that... whats that you say? You want to expand freeways? Heres a couple billion dollars.

    dudzonedudzoneOy oldin
  • yeah stay at home and take up highway space, okay, nice representation of stay at home work

    BubblegamBubblegamOy oldin
  • 3:56 that's a horribly built phrase

    ruanfernandoruanfernandoOy oldin
  • The lackadaisical archer pharmacodynamically remember because instrument certainly float unto a grouchy egg. roomy, defiant roof

    Carey WrightCarey WrightOy oldin
  • Can you not just have more roads instead of more highways?

    Avery LoinetteAvery LoinetteOy oldin
    • @Avery Loinette do you really think to solve a rush hour traffic issue from a multi-lane highway by replacing it with several smaller roads, with intersections, traffic lights etc instead?

      EnjoyFirefighting - International Emergency Response VideosEnjoyFirefighting - International Emergency Response Videos27 kun oldin
    • @Simon Dahl so... no source, nice.

      Avery LoinetteAvery Loinette28 kun oldin
    • @Avery Loinette, Source - Logic. Your essentially just adding more lanes, a couple of miles away. Adding more lanes doesn't work.

      Simon DahlSimon Dahl28 kun oldin
    • @Simon Dahl Source?

      Avery LoinetteAvery Loinette28 kun oldin
    • Exactly the same problem...

      Simon DahlSimon Dahl28 kun oldin
  • Ban auto TV commercials = less desire to buy new cars

    Bo AyalaBo AyalaOy oldin
  • Y not make a public transport with more reach and security 🤷🤷

    Rohit RodricksRohit RodricksOy oldin
  • The issue is population

    Nut MasterNut MasterOy oldin
  • Houston has no real public transportation.

    Nicholas DeVriesNicholas DeVriesOy oldin
  • When you actually realize it creates more traffic because thats where cars go

    Content DeletedContent DeletedOy oldin
  • Wouldn't building one highway on top of another be a better use of land?

    Tommy VercettiTommy VercettiOy oldin
    • Insanely expensive...

      Simon DahlSimon Dahl28 kun oldin
  • Simple solution, get a motorcycle. Why anyone would choose to sit in traffic when you can filter and literally save yourself days of travel a year is beyond me.

    Captain OKZCaptain OKZOy oldin
  • make public transport more widespread, charge those who drive on the highway in order to get a shortcut, that's a way to reduce jam

    Alex vs Rita YaoAlex vs Rita YaoOy oldin
  • What funny is, I'm setting in traffic on the katy freeway watching ths video

    jusu zoeduajusu zoeduaOy oldin
  • That’s false. More freeways= less traffic. The problem is high urban density.

    Jesse PinkmanJesse PinkmanOy oldin
    • @Jesse Pinkman "Traffic is caused because of narrow streets" funny out highways don't have nearly as many lanes and although you feel the rush hour, it's not a traffic jam on a daily basis at all

      EnjoyFirefighting - International Emergency Response VideosEnjoyFirefighting - International Emergency Response Videos27 kun oldin
    • @TheSuomi Saying that high urban density reduces traffic is false. Look at China or India. Cities in these countries are like 10 to 20 times more dense and there’s terrible traffic. People using public transportation doesn’t change the fact that people from outside cities come to cities and there’s traffic, but not because of sprawl, because of too many people per square feet which means that there’s less space for everyone and that causes traffic. Traffic is by definition the fact that there’s a lack of space for everyone. And as you know, in high urban density places there’s less space...

      Jesse PinkmanJesse Pinkman27 kun oldin
    • @Jesse Pinkman of course not, but it doesn't help that for almost all of the urban area *only* single family homes are allowed in the US. The construction companies would happily build other types of homes and people would happily live in other types of homes but the laws don't allow them to. Of course there will be single family homes, but if there were less of them and more denser areas, more people could use public transport and there would be less traffic on the roads as well

      TheSuomiTheSuomi27 kun oldin
    • @TheSuomi An entire urban area just cannot be dense.

      Jesse PinkmanJesse Pinkman27 kun oldin
    • @TheSuomi Why is the fact that people enjoy living in single family houses and have comfort, space, peace and a quality of life, the result of “terrible zoning laws”? If city centers wouldn’t be that dense everyone from outside the city wouldn’t have to go inside such a limited space (at the same time). You obviously haven’t red my second or third comment since I explained that fundamentally there will always be not dense areas outside of cities. So yeah, the problem isn’t highways or suburbs. The problem is high urban density with narrow and limited number of streets for people ALL ACROSS a urban area. You have to understand the difference between city and urban area.

      Jesse PinkmanJesse Pinkman27 kun oldin
  • Vox: explaining to Americans what is mostly obvious to Europeans. Doing God's* work (Or the atheist version)

    Adam DunkleyAdam DunkleyOy oldin
  • The opposite plantation comparatively explode because drain regretfully level underneath a agonizing cold. solid, wacky cub

    Hooriyah HagebaHooriyah HagebaOy oldin
  • title: "how highways make TRAFFIC WORSE" Indian highways have entered the chat.

    Djlolepope DigitalDjlolepope DigitalOy oldin
    • Our highways are actually 2 lane roads and our 2 lane roads are actually 1 lane roads. Wait, what am I saying, we don't even have the concept of lanes on our roads.

      Arvindh ManiArvindh ManiOy oldin
  • Ma, just make aaa 50 lanes and finis it off ma!

    Djlolepope DigitalDjlolepope DigitalOy oldin
  • I think that "Build it and they will come"

    Greg WarnerGreg WarnerOy oldin
  • It’s not that simple. If it was that simple we would just make every road one lane, shouldn’t that reduce traffic. No. I do city planning in Sydney Australia and one of the main issues for traffic congestion is traffic funnelling. Building more lanes is not going to help it just funnels traffic to the same destination. Then we would have two 3 lanes freeways merging onto the same road which is going to cause more traffic congestion.

    KIM SHIKIM SHIOy oldin
  • Law of supply and demand says that when there is more demand than there is supply, the price rises. But with local government, they don’t know how to dynamically change their prices for vehicles on the road or they choose not to do so.

    John HacklyJohn HacklyOy oldin
  • as someone who regularly drives on the katy highway, i can say with full confidence that you are completely and utterly right. it's always so congested... and for what

    tootifrootitootifrootiOy oldin
  • Legalize lane splitting and more people will ride motorcycles reducing the traffic by 30%

    James WinchesterJames WinchesterOy oldin
  • What if you wanted easy and tranquil public transportation but Capitalism said: 26 lane highway

    Pat DaddyPat DaddyOy oldin
  • Simple. Just remove all the roads and you won't have any traffic.

    Healt DesimalHealt DesimalOy oldin
    • Don't forget traffic manager to change the lanes

      Hopps_Mrbritish 144hzHopps_Mrbritish 144hz22 kun oldin
    • Task Manager (Not Responding)

      Arvindh ManiArvindh ManiOy oldin
  • 3:31 is in the UK not the USA lol

    Matthew HaffnerMatthew HaffnerOy oldin
    • @Matthew Haffner ok

      Jesse PinkmanJesse PinkmanOy oldin
    • @Jesse Pinkman I'm almost certain that's the UK. Can tell by the signs and car number plates

      Matthew HaffnerMatthew HaffnerOy oldin
    • Maybe Australia

      Jesse PinkmanJesse PinkmanOy oldin
  • Actually, reducing traffic is as simple as, not follow closely! Problem solve.

    sandas turnersandas turnerOy oldin
  • I want to say otgerwise because in my town we had a 2 lane road that was a major road that leads to the highway and also 3 diffrent schools. It always got backed up until they made a section of it 4 lanes which cut down the traffic significantly

    Pax AmericaniaPax AmericaniaOy oldin
  • as a dutch person it's so extremely weird to see how much people in the states and their local governments seem to ignore the option of taking a bike to work...

    Mathijs van NieuwenhuijsenMathijs van NieuwenhuijsenOy oldin
  • 0:28 "exit 7/10 mi" is that actually how they wrote it back then?

    Taemin YeoTaemin YeoOy oldin
  • Agree with it! Just need to change behavior to make better city’s life.

    Munawar MunawarMunawar MunawarOy oldin
  • They use soviet way to solve problem in America. That won't work

    Vincent AtuhVincent AtuhOy oldin
  • As you stated reducing traffic is complicated and I think it's still even more complicated than just reducing highways. But as you pointed out better public transportation would definitely help out a lot. Here's the thing though. People really hate taking the bus. I remember back in high school I used to take the bus to get the school and back and I just hated having to do it every single day. When I went to Santa Rosa Junior college before I got my driver's license I started to take the bus to get anywhere and it was so frustrating and even more so frustrating because of how different the bus schedules ended up being because of what time I had to go to class and whatnot. Ever since getting my license just one day before I turned 21 I have felt so much better cuz I could drive to wherever I want. I do have the benefit of not being an hour south in San Francisco where traffic is absolutely horrible, but there are times of day in my hometown of Santa Rosa where traffic does get bad specifically on the freeway and usually in one specific direction and not both.

    Sly88FryeSly88FryeOy oldin
  • Have so much supply so demand can’t catch up

    llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllOy oldin