Taking Turns: Rx for Congestion

Carlos Daganzo

Freeway congestion at bottlenecks is different from tie-ups caused by accidents and other random incidents. It’s recurrent and therefore more easily diagnosed and perhaps even more easily controlled. Thus, at least in principle, we can reduce bottleneck congestion by modifying either the freeway’s design or the management policies that affect freeway operations. Unfortunately, the most obvious modifications often redistribute benefits and burdens unevenly, so some people feel they’d be worse off of the so-called improvements. The resulting clamor often leads to inaction, leaving congestion unabated. So we need to find win-win strategies that everyone might like—lowering bottleneck congestion while garnering widespread support.

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