I usually scoff when I see a statement like that because it has rarely been true. At best, new transit “bends the curve” meaning that while the new facility doesn’t cut congestion along corridor, it may well slow the rate of growth in congestion. And that’s a fine thing.
But as I started to post this, I realized that this may now be true. Why? It’s in the article itself – VMT has at least leveled and may well be dropping. The chart below shows what’s going on.
I really need to find or make a chart like this that goes back to 1945, because this is the first time there has been a sustained leveling of growth since WW2. And many, many, many facets of urban and transportation planning are predicated on that growth continuing indefinitely.
This happens to be a topic that fascinates me. It fascinates me in two ways. The topic of sub-state governments themselves is of interest to me because just about every state is different. Counties (some strong, some close to non-existent), parishes, judicial districts, cities, towns, villages, boro(ugh)s, and sometimes more than one at once. And that doesn’t even get to single-purpose local governments like fire protection or school districts.
The endless debates over regional consolidation, which is occasionally punctured by actual changes, is also of interest partly because of where I was raised.
Anyway, Saint Louis and more specifically the 6 square miles of Ferguson, Mo, are in the news and there is actually, a regional consolidation aspect to it. Read the article for the author’s thoughts.
I believe I will pull this quote and leave it at that:
“[A]t all levels of government, 20th-century American land use and transportation planners sought to support “one single purpose to which the whole of society is permanently subordinated”—making cars go as fast as possible.”