A new report from the University of Utah uses data to settle a debate that has been ongoing among transportation researchers since the 1990s: what are the effects of compact development on traffic congestion?
One camp argues that dense, compact development with a mixture of land uses will ultimately relieve congestion by encouraging fewer auto trips. On the opposite side, proponents of highway-induced, sprawling development argue that sprawl decreases congestion by funneling traffic away from dense areas, acting as a "traffic safety valve."
Led by Reid Ewing of the University of Utah and Shima Hamidi of the University of Texas at Arlington, this NITC study sought to address the question through cross sectional data. So which of these forms of urban development is better at reducing area-wide traffic congestion?
Ewing and Hamidi arrived at the conclusion that development density—whether compact...Read more