4 Comments

  1. GVB

    Interesting article but it must be kept in mind the models presented herein are EXTREMELY simplified abstracts of reality…the slope of the demand curve on the first graph is WAY more elastic than it would be in real life thereby lending weight to the authors point of view. Haven’t read the journal article in its entirety yet but even when “induced demand” is accounted for I notice the authors state that expanding road infrastructure is “not without benefit”.

    I could be wrong but to me the issue here seems to be “cross price elasticity of demand” for driving in relation to walking which, in layman’s terms, is a ratio calculated by dividing the % change in the qty of miles driven by the % change in the “cost” (time/money saved) of walking…in other words, by how much will miles driven (congestion) fall in relation to the decreased cost of walking – I suspect the ratio would be quite low TBH as for most people in western nations driving from point A to B and avoiding any form of physical activity is a way of life.

    Still, a very interesting and thought provoking article.

    • Connor Jones

      As I was writing this, I wasn’t considering the slope of the demand line so much. Since induced demand is a model, I was just trying to show the movement in each of the lines and how the corresponded to changes in price and quantity. I also didn’t worry about the slope too much because different studies have measured several different quantities for the elasticity of demand of auto transportation.

      I think you’re right in noting that a reduction in automotive miles traveled by either implementing congestion pricing, closing highways, or hiking gasoline taxes wouldn’t just make people automatically choose to walk or take public transit. Instead, it would reduce mobility, at least in the short term. But the cross price elasticity of demand is a quantity that I would like to examine in the future.

      Thanks for your comment,
      Connor

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