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Supersizing Lincoln Rd

Way back at the end of 2013 Auckland Transport started a consultation on supersizing Lincoln Rd in Henderson – a road that in my view as a regular user is one of the most soul destroying in all of Auckland. It’s a road that’s almost completely automobile focused in its design and land-use yet seems to perform poorly for cars too, a textbook Stroad.

AT’s basic plan back then for Lincoln Rd was to once again widen it – this time to three lanes each way with the additional lanes being T3. Each direction would be separated by a solid raised median. At the big intersections that six-lane road would blow out to 9-10 lanes wide to cater for various turning movements while pedestrians and cyclists were to only have shared paths which from memory didn’t even meet AT’s low standards of the time. Here’s a video of what was proposed.

When they released the outcome of the consultation almost a year later one of the strongest pieces of feedback was around the cycle infrastructure and wanting separated cycleways, after-all if AT were going to the cost and bother of buying land they should at least cater for all modes properly. Their response to that was “A separated facility for cyclists will be investigated as part of the detailed design

But following that I had heard almost nothing about the project till this week when on the closed session agenda at the Auckland Transport board meeting this item was listed – “Lodgement of Lincoln Rd NoR” [notice of requirement]. This surprised me given that AT normally at least show their designs and often have a second (or even third) round of consultation before embarking on lodging a notice of requirement. Recent examples include Mill Rd, the Newmarket Crossing and seemingly most cycling projects.

A quick look at AT’s page for the project found they had uploaded some new details about the project in February but that they only alerted a narrow range of people. I would certainly count us and our friends at Bike Auckland in that last category.

February/ March 2016

Property owners individually notified of whether AT intends to purchase some or all of their property.

The latest version of the Lincoln Road upgrade incorporating feedback from previous consultation rounds will be shared with:

  • Affected property owners.
  • Tenants.
  • The wider catchment around Lincoln Road deemed to be indirectly affected by or interested in the proposals.

AT will also seek feedback from these stakeholders.

As for what’s now proposed, most of the project seems pretty much identical to what was proposed back in 2013 with the main change being that they have added separated bike lanes in.

The proposed upgrade of Lincoln Road seeks to:

  • Widen the road to provide an additional bus/T3 transit lane on each side.
  • Install an on-road kerbside cycleway segregated from the transit lane on both sides of the road.
  • Upgrade existing intersections.
  • Build a solid raised and planted median to replace the existing painted median.
  • Upgrade traffic signals and implement stormwater treatments.
  • Relocate and upgrade existing utility services.
  • Integrate with the NZ Transport Agency’s motorway interchange upgrade at Lincoln Road.

And the preliminary design (4.2MB) indicates what the road will look like. Below I’ll step through it with my observations, click the images to enlarge. In all cases North is to the left of the image.

The Triangle Rd/Central Park Dr intersection

As you can see the Lincoln Rd splays out over 10 lanes wide here if you count the space for the cycle lanes and central raised median. You can also see the cycle lanes that have been added which will be segregated – although this plan doesn’t say how yet.

One big new addition here is what appears to be a new road which presumably AT want to build to allow for driveways to be taken out. This may be for traffic reasons or that widening the road will make driveways physically impossible. There also seems to be a small island of houses being left that with this new road will effectively be surrounded by roads. I wonder if this is a case where AT and Panuku Development Auckland need to work together to come up with a better outcome. One potential positive though is that road also seems to open up the local park which is currently only accessed by a few walkways.

A few other things you can notice are a new possible shared path on the North-western side of the intersection which will presumably lead to an extension of the NW cycleway as part of the Royal Rd motorway widening. There also appear to be raised tables on each of the slip lanes which is at least positive and it adds the missing pedestrian crossing on the northern side of the intersection

Lincoln Rd Feb Design - Triangle-Central Park

Universal Dr intersectoin

Continuing on from the image above you can see a mid-block pedestrian crossing being proposed. One good thing is it appears that side streets such as Paramount Dr and Datyona Rd will get raised tables at their intersections with Lincoln Rd.

At Universal Dr the road once again splays out to a wide beast with 9 traffic lanes on either side. Most of the changes here are not too dissimilar to those at the Triangle/Central Park intersection. The left turn for cars to head north on Lincoln Rd has also been narrowed to a single lane which might upset some drivers. I’d also like to see a cycle lane on the western side of Universal Dr right up to the intersection as especially with that left turn being narrowed as there’s not much space there.

Lincoln Rd Feb Design - Universal

Pomaria Rd intersection

Pomaria Rd represents the end of this project and the image shows one of the aspects that concern me the most with the current incarnation of it. As you can see just after the intersection for coming out of the Pak n Save and Mitre 10 carpark (on left of image), the cycle lanes on either side just stop dead and there’s no indication of how bikes will be accommodated after that. In my view, AT need to find a way to extend those cycle lanes right to the Pomaria Rd intersection where it can at least there join with the existing cycle infrastructure.

Lincoln Rd Feb Design - Pomaria

Overall the design has improved but regardless it still represents a massive supersizing of the road and one that won’t come cheap. There is no indication of any changes south of Pomaria where ideally at least protected cycle lanes would be extended in the future.

While AT are about to go through the NoR for the project it seems it could be quite some time before anything is actually built. based on this timeline.

  • February 2016 to May 2016 – Project update with affected property owners and affected/interested parties.
  • May 2016 to June 2017 – Notice of Requirement (NoR) processes.
  • July 2017 to June 2020 – Hold up period (due to lack of funds).
  • July 2020 to December 2022 – Detailed design and land-take.
  • July 2020 to June 2022 – Consenting processes.
  • April 2023 to April 2025 – Construction.

All future dates are projections. Final timelines are to be confirmed and are subject to availability of funds.

64 comments to Supersizing Lincoln Rd

  • Ricardo

    Excellent news. Something is being done to ease congestion. And you get a cycle lane. You should all be very happy. People who live out west will now be able to move a bit more freely. If you keep wanting more houses built instead of easing up on population growth then these areas must have proper transport and traffic must flow. As much as you personally hate cars, they are the choice of many to get around.

    • Am I blocked?

      Hi, can you point to a single example of road building leading to a reduction in traffic? Either in NZ or around the world. Cheers

      • Bert

        you guys are asking two different questions? Do roads reduce traffic…. No (unless there are some other practical modes that are enabled) Do roads reduce congestion…. Possibly. Everyone keeps banging on in here about induced demand and I agree that there will be an increased level of traffic but who cares, it will be negligible in comparison to the overall benefits everybody is getting. The majority of road users will see less overall journey times, the duration of the congestion times will reduce as the road can clear traffic quicker, local journeys will be easier and there will be generally larger throughput of traffic. As someone who drives a car that is a good thing, bigger roads bigger capacity for the vast majority of us.

        There also new bus and cycle lanes too so everybody is happy. The reality is most people want and like to drive their cars. Lincoln Road is a a disaster at the best of times as the road is completely inconsistent over its full length considering it one of the main routes to the west. This project is a long time coming and couple with the improvements at the SH16 interchange and along the NW should be a huge benefit.

        • mfwic

          The term ‘induced demand’ is a stupid one but it gets used a lot. There is demand, there is supply (capacity). Supply is limited so some demand shows up as traffic quantity and some does not. ‘Induced’ implies it was created by the supply like some sort of Says Law. But if you build a road to nowhere very few people will ever drive it. People throw the term around as if it is proof that roads dont work but that is simply daft. Like saying we built a theatre and it was full so we shouldnt build any more theatres.

          • Max

            The term “induced demand” is not stupid, because it refers to induced demand FOR THE MODE YOU BUILD FOR.

            In short: Add general car lanes, the demand goes into more cars, because it will now (briefly) be easier to drive.

            If you build busways, you get more PT users. They come from the same demand.

            Roads work indeed. They fill up, and then you are back to traffic jams. The whole purpose of the congestion free network is that you provide a mode (bus, rail) that DOESN’T get jammed up (at least not in terms of being stuck in traffic), providing people with a more dependable – and in urban terms more efficient – mode of traffic.

          • Peter Nunns

            Yes, that’s about correct. There is usually (although not always) pent-up demand for travel that can be met due to expanded transport capacity (including reallocations of road space to PT or cycling).

            My main issue is that politicians and policymakers *market* expansions in road capacity as measures to reduce congestion. That is a falsehood that is blatantly contradicted by the empirical evidence. Repeating it – as Ricardo is doing – is an active impediment to a more rational transport policy.

            For what it’s worth, the same critique applies to PT projects marketed as reducing congestion by diverting car trips. But those projects are different than road-widening projects, as they give more people the opportunity to *opt out* of congestion.

          • mfwic

            You are just wrong on so many points i am not sure it is worth it but here goes. 1/ Demand is the function of the desire or willingness to do something. It is unconstrained by supply. 2/ The quantity demanded is the number who take up the chance at that level price or if it is free at the level of supply provided. It is an outcome. Traffic on a street is a quantity demanded so is the number of people on a train. 3/ Says law is a generalisation. We didn’t know people wanted ipads until they were available. But actually they did, they must have had some need they couldn’t fulfil. 4/ Public transport has capacity too just like roads. The difference is the economy of scale. You have to pay a fortune to build a rail line for a very few people to use. As you add more the marginal cost is very low but once the rail line reaches capacity there are no more economies of scale. You have to pay another fortune. The supply curve slopes up but it can slope down for limited parts. If you build a road beside a rail line like the southern motorway and the road fills up and a few use the train then (here’s the big assumption) provided both modes pay their marginal cost then there is no problem. People on the congested road choose it as they get a bigger gain than using the train gives them. We need road pricing not numpties who think they know best what other people should do.

          • Max

            “1/ Demand is the function of the desire or willingness to do something. It is unconstrained by supply.”

            Demonstrably untrue. If supply is constrained – on any mode – demand either declines because it is so unattractive / frustrating / slow to use (people travel less, people buy less houses outside suitable travel time) or shifts in time or space (people choose a different transport mode that works better, or travel earlier or later).

            Your statement is only true with your set of definitions. However, road congestion, and how people choose to travel, doesn’t gives a hoot about your (or our) definitions. It is strongly influenced by supply – this shapes HOW and WHEN people travel.

            Therefore, the TYPE of supply we provide with our limited land and limited money is absolutely crucial in terms of what type of traffic we get.

            Bad bus service and good (or simply more) roads = people shift from buses to cars. Rail and light rail and bus corridors, and no added (or less) roadspace = people shift to PT. In this particular case, the project isn’t actually that bad – most of the new capacity is going to PT and cycling (though the T3 lanes should be bus lanes, with better intersection priority). BUT the project does so at the very high cost of not reducing car traffic at the same time. Expensive adding, rather than transferring capacity.

          • Max

            “People on the congested road choose it as they get a bigger gain than using the train gives them. We need road pricing not numpties who think they know best what other people should do.”

            Building more roads when Aucklanders have, overwhelmingly, said that they want more PT funding rather than more roads, IS telling other people you know better. PS: I agree with you on road pricing, but as a funding method to do more PT.

          • mfwic

            Max by your standard the Reserve Bank Governor would ease the money supply and then react with horror at the ‘induced demand’ as people took up the money. Meanwhile across town in the Numpties Club they would be saying “We all new increasing the supply of money would increase demand. It’s a classic case of INDUCED DEMAND. People should be trading with beads and polished shells instead or going without entirely.”
            FGS Demand is already there, some is satisfied and some isn’t. The same rules apply to packed railway trains, crowded buses and roads with lots of vehicles.

          • Matthew W

            Induced demand is a concept that is quite useful. It describes how, if you have a shortage of something, simply producing more of thst thing wont easily alleviate the shortage. Why? For the same reason you have the shortage in the first place: the price aint right. Congestion is a sign the price needs to go up. Once the price has gone up you can decide if it would be worth providing additional capacity. Induced demand is just another way of saying that unpriced roads are stupid.

          • mfwic

            Still a stupid concept. First it gets the economic jargon wrong. The quantity demanded changes not demand itself. Demand is a function (or its inverse is a function because early economists got their graphs wrong) that already includes the part that is used and the part that isn’t. Second if you increase supply (the function not a number as it is also a function) for any normal good then more is demanded. That makes ‘induced demand’ irrefutable so therefore unscientific. Third it seems to have been invented by transport people to sound technical. Fourth it is offered up as proof of a preconceived idea that makes no sense when applied to other areas. Who would argue the Pop Up Globe was daft as it suffered from induced demand? When they then extended the season and sold those tickets as well, more induced demand?

          • Matthew W

            Sounds like what you are saying is it is a stupid name, and you are probably right. My understanding is it comes from a time when stupid traffic planners would assess different projects assuming a fixed number of vehicles using the road at any given time in the future irrespective of the changes to the road. So the result was that benefits were calculated in terms of travel time savings which was not realistic. I dont know if that practice still exists or if transport planners now use demand curves.

          • mfwic

            We did do that because stupid economists insisted on a fixed matrix approach. The bit you didn’t count was the benefit of the additional traffic which if you did included it was assessed as half the benefits. The half was because a benefit is the area under a Hicksian demand curve and the half was because the additional trips gave a triangle not a rectangular area.
            Where i said the idea wasn’t refutable isnt quite true. Robert Cervero at Berkeley argued the opposite often held. The demand existed and that induced investment in roads and earlier studies hadn’t bothered to account for that. http://www.uctc.net/access/22/Access%2022%20-%2004%20-%20Induced%20Travel%20Studies.pdf
            But I dont think I have ever seen induced demand in an economics book under grad or post grad. But they keep banging on about it in transport circles.

          • Matthew W

            I dont understand your areas under the curve discussion, but needless to say, you cant estimate real benefits from an analysis that doesnt account for induced demand. Well, I am sure you can, but it will be no less BS than the analysis on which its based.

          • Jeff T

            Induced demand demand in terms of transport refers to ‘forced’ demand. It usually occurs when there is only one main option available so people have no choice but to demand that choice. Examples include the demand for buses that was forced on those who still needed to use public transport when the Auckland tram system was dismantled. Another would be the need to use a private vehicle in an area that is only set up for such transportation (Lincoln Rd?)

            Pop-up Globe was nothing like induced demand. A product was supplied and there has been strong demand for it. Nobody was forced to go and watch Shakespeare. (And some may say “thank God! – although I have been three times).

            Thank goodness it’s only economists that are stupid and not traffic engineers.

          • mfwic

            Matthew W the description of the curve was probably no real use. I cant give you a sketch but it goes a bit like this. The area under or left of a demand curve is the consumer surplus. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_surplus But because when a price rises or goes down you can substitute then the consumer surplus is not a true measure of benefits. Some of those people have gone up or down to a different indifference curve but some have also been able to move around an indifference curve. Hicksian or compensated demand is usually steeper and the area under that gives a measure of the wealth effect of a change. So that is the correct measure of benefits or disbenefits in benefit cost analysis. In transport, the supply line is pretty much vertical, doesnt matter what you pay, the same number travel. I cant draw it but the lines are the same as this but ignore their labels http://cdn.economicsdiscussion.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/image272.png imagine the y axis is travel time values and the x axis is people travelling. Y1 to Y2 is like adding capacity to a road or adding a train. The change in benefits is the area between p1 and p2 – a rectangle that represents the benefits assuming fixed demand and a triangle showing the benefits of the additional trips. The 2nd part is a triangle so the benefit of new trips is base x height x 1/2. Whereas the fixed demand part is a rectangle so it is base times height. That is why we use 1/2 the benefit of new trips.

          • Matthew W

            Right so what you are saying is that for a new, lower travel time, the benefit of the investment to the new users is on average half of the average benefit to the existing users. Nice. Except the problem is the new travel time is not fixed but is a function of number of users (old and new). It is also highly non-linear once you start getting congestion. So unless you know about this and account for it, you dont know how big the “rectangle” part of your benefits area is – because you dont know what the change in travel time is actually going to be.

          • mfwic

            In a big system you model the trips from each zone to each other zone. The model gives you the congestion. You sum all the trips. Then you get the rectangle by subtracting the scheme and the do minimum. That’s the theory the flaw is that most models are BS.
            But the general idea is you are summing the wealth effect. If you are indifferent to two modes and you switch then there is no benefit. The reality is that this is often left out of studies so we overstate benefits. Being able to substitute can mitigate your loss of welfare when things get congested.

    • patrick M

      Yes please present some empirical evidence of anywhere on this Planet that has successfully built its way out of congestion.

    • Chris R

      Again this myth that Kiwis are some kind of mystical petrol hobbits who are more attached to their cars than anyone else. People don’t make choices in a vacuum; their choices are shaped (indeed sometimes enforced) by the environment. Sure, some people like to drive, but I don’t see why we need to spend umpteen millions making that choice more attractive when it’s possibly the least efficient (and least safe) way of moving people around a city. And that’s what transport agencies should be focusing on: moving people.

      Another population who love cars, based on numbers owned per capita? The Dutch. The difference is that they don’t make the mistake of thinking that cars are an effective choice for every journey.

  • Feijoa

    If all the drive thrus were turned 90 degrees you could almost get a continuous new lane from ASB’s Drive Thru Banking right up past this project to McDonald’s without requiring any homes to be destroyed. Not only flow better but get fed and your banking done on the commute.

  • Early Commuter

    If there were a prize for ugliest road in Auckland, Lincoln road would place 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

    Hard to believe you can build a road terrible for cars, buses, and pedestrians, but they managed the triple whammy here!!

    • Timr

      Nah, they just flunked highway design 101. Learning from past mistakes would be a good call.

      http://www.citylab.com/cityfixer/2016/04/street-design-models/479343/

      • Simon

        Ha, I was just going to post this exact link. Surely a road this large in a residential/commercial location is just calling out for the boulevard treatment.

      • Yeah its interesting, you’d think that when you have a wide road with both a regional arterial function, and a local access function for traffic, plus buses, pededestrians and cyclists, a boulevard would be ideal.

      • mfwic

        That only applies if the goal is to make the street walkable. That has never been the real goal of Lincoln Rd. The real problem is the planners have tried to protect Henderson as a town centre. So the focus has always been on using Lincoln Road as a through route to Henderson and making every retail application on Lincoln road as difficult as they can. The businesses are there despite the council not because of them. Your design suggestions assume that you are trying to make a pleasant place. The council has never had that goal.

  • BBC

    Well hopefully the time frame means it will be re-explored in a few years with a focus on transit and active modes not on simply super sizing a carbon copy of 1960s Alabama design, albeit with cycle lanes.

  • Christopher T

    Looks like another arterial on steroids, i.e. a motorway, from those same ‘active-mode considerate’ traffic engineers responsible for the first so-called St Luke’s Interchange design. They must be really annoyed there aren’t any significant trees they can remove for this project. Vile.

  • Bryce P

    T3 lanes? Surely Lincoln Road is a sitter for a damn busway. All the way to the bus interchange, and NW busway. These need to be included in the design and show how it all links together.

  • Such an absolute shame to see the nightmare Lincoln Rd has become, it used to be such a nice area, vineyards and orchards… now it seems like any of the worst strips you see in LA…

  • Ben

    Paint one-lane each way green and enforce bus-only traffic and problem solve! Doesn’t take a scientist to figure that out!
    Congestion will happen whether they want it or not. Why punish those who contribute less to traffic. If AT is serious about increasing public transport usage, they need to give reason why taking public transport is better.

  • Matthew W

    I cant work out how the cycle lanes progress through the intersections? There doesnt appear to be a marked lane. Given the room available, these intersections would surely be ideal sote to implement best practice dutch style intersection design.

    Similarly, median bus lanes could be considered. We have seen median PT corridors proposed for Dom Rd and Sandringham Rd, but without easily discernable desicion making criteria. It would be good for AT to be transparent about the conditions under which these should be implemented. Given such a major upgrade, it could be an opportune time if they are deemed appropriate in the future.

    • Max

      I think the intention is that most cyclists will cross the slip lanes at the raised zebra crossings, then use the signalised cycle/ped crossings shown in the designs. The fast, confident cyclists (the type that rides Lincoln Rd right now) would likely stay in the T3 lane.

      This is about as good as we can get for protected cycle facilities, short of removing slip lanes altogether (which would be great, but you may have noticed a strong preference to not reduce car convenience too much in this design…)

      • Matthew W

        I would have thought a safety first approach would be good in 2016. I realise this design came out before April but I dont know how it would stack up against the new Act.

        I also do wonder how much real benefit you get from those slip lanes. As soon as the traffic is backed up by a couple of cars, its blocked anyway.

      • Slip lanes are a bloody nuisance for cyclists. Worse, they’re dangerous as they encourage drivers to overtake and then cross your path. Why is the fast movement of cars prioritised over the safety of road users? That’s a rhetorical question btw, I know the answer.

        • Matthew W

          Even given the presence of slip lanes, they could have designed the cycle “lane” a lot better. If Max is right, it is going to be very confusing as a cyclist to know where to go. Why not paint the route over the zebra crossing, across the island and through the intersection green?

          Once the route is painted and legible, it will become obvious that the route contains sharp angles instead of curves that can be ridden comfortably at 20kph. Eg the transition from lane to zebra crossing is a bloody right angle! The way it is currently set up, how does a driver using the slip lane know if a cyclist is going “straight” through the intersection or turning left? Is the cyclist expected to stop at the right angle? Yes a nuisance is right especially when the designeer obviously gave no thought to how you would actually progress down the road in a civilised manner.

          • Max

            Do remember though that this is not “the design”. This is the design for the NOR, the “Notice of Requirement” – which is, in effect, a high-level outline which predominantly is to set such matters as “what is the project for” and “how much width / designation does it need”.

            Within that, tons of further change is possible and indeed likely in the coming 3-5 years. Heck, with your typical NOR, there’s no reason why the slip lanes couldn’t be removed – or the cycle lanes changed back to shared paths. I severely doubt that anything in this current process would hinder or fix in place either if AT were later to become set on changing course accordingly (both examples used as just that – examples – only!).

            Which is why I would not read *too* much into the *details* of this design – only in so far as they show thought processes and attitudes among AT, both those that are improving and those that are still very focussed on the car as deserving the greatest attention.

          • Matthew W

            Yeah I accept that it could change, but it is still concerning someone could think this is ok. It’s not like the car lanes have 90 degree angles in them when travelling straight.

        • Bruce

          Still have not seen one shred of evidence that says that slip lanes are dangerous Scott…

          If you want to paint a green strip across them (as is often seen) then great.
          Slip lanes reduce blockages at intersections and speed up road crossing for pedestrians (not to mention making it easier for cyclists to turn off the road on to the side road rather than trying to make a sharp 90deg turn at the traffic lights (or having to stop because it is a red – something which is usually ignored – it is also hard for a bus to make a tight 90 deg turn at an intersection too).
          If you allowed left turns on a red traffic light then by all means slip lanes can be removed. However that probably isn’t going to happen despite it working well overseas. Not too mention the costs of ripping out a slip lane, filling it in, planting etc. That is money that could be so much better spent on things like cycle lanes or bus lanes.

          • I’m all for cycle lanes everywhere.
            However, based solely on my own experience of riding and walking every day, slip lanes are a danger to cyclists and peds. Nope, I don’t have evidence other than that these are the areas where I’ve consistently had close calls. Why? Because they encourage drivers to nip through the gap. We need to be designing to minimise this behaviour, not encouraging it.

          • Sailor Boy

            Still have not seen a shred of evidence that left turn on red works well overseas.

          • Bruce

            Sailor Boy, that would be the lack of cars waiting to turn left (or the equivalent right) in those places. It simply frees up capacity without having to add a square inch of road.

          • Bryce P

            The free left turn is a really shit idea if you are a pedestrian. The left turn arrows we have now are bad enough.

      • Bryce P

        Seems to be more of the 2 tier cycle facilities then. Why not encourage AT to build it right first time?

  • How does one exit the Z service station next to Pak ‘n Save, and drive toward the motorway? Do they really expect folk to drive across the slip lane?

    • Stephen Davis

      It looks like the driveway comes out before the slip lane to me. That’s assuming the traffic island is only the yellow part, and the white is paint, not solid.

  • Ari

    Tis a traffic engineering masterpiece. By the time it gets built I expect all the cycle facilities will disappear because of budget issues meaning cars will be able to travel even quicker without annoying cyclists taking up all the road.Now if only they would put in tunnels of pedestrians rather than have them slowing down traffic at the intersections.

  • Anthony

    That new road could just as easily connect to Daytona or Preston, rather than Lincoln. The less side roads crossing the cycle way the better.

  • Elaine

    it sounds positive but if its anything like the new intersection lights for the developing subdivision that has an entrance from Central Park Drive (close to the lights at Lincoln Road and before Hirepool) i’d be worried about the design. Central Park Drive goes from 2 lanes, to 1 lane as you get closer to the intersection – bizarre. At peak traffic, no one knows which lane to go in and the traffic shuffles around like lost sheep. This is a new intersection!!.

  • john smith

    mfwic and others on induced demand: this debate is confused because you’re mixing up two common uses of ‘demand’:
    1. In the classic efficient market of microeconomics textbooks, supply is the amount brought to market and demand is the amount sold. Demand cannot exceed supply. If the price goes down, demand goes up (usually), as described by the elasticity of demand.
    In this sense, induced demand just means, ‘If the ‘price’ (the cost of a trip in time, running costs, stress) goes down because of a road improvement, the amount of travel consumed will go up.’ It’s a fairly obvious and important concept for transport planning.
    2.People also say ‘there is unsatisfied/suppressed/pent-up demand’ loosely to mean, ‘If the price were lower, the amount consumed would be higher’ (assuming the supply is available, of course). When you use ‘demand’ this way, ‘induced demand’ sounds incoherent, because demand in sense 2. (consumption as it would be in some alternative reality) is what it is and so, you would think, can’t be induced. That may be mfwic’s concern.

  • john smith

    Induced demand (increased travel resulting from a road improvement) represents people trading travel time savings for other benefits (opportunity to take further-away jobs, live in further-away places, travel in the peak hour because that’s more convenient instead of avoiding it because of the congestion…). Those private benefits still exist when congestion returns to its earlier level, assuming people choose to persevere with their changed behaviour.

    However, when people trade travel time savings for extra travel, they’re increasing the *external* congestion cost suffered by everyone else. And because no-one’s trip begins and ends exactly on the new road, the traffic induced by the new road will increase congestion suffered throughout the road network, including by people who never go anywhere near the new road.

    The *external* congestion cost created by induced demand is a genuine economic cost that should count on the negative side in a cost-benefit analysis.

  • robincole

    Stinkin’ Lincoln I call it, a car infested wasteland of bigbox outlets, KFCs, Big Macs and Carls Juniors. A kind of mini San Fernando Valley.

    • Bryce P

      I bet that if we got a real boulevard built down there it would change the landscape and development. Big box buildings are relatively cheap and, if developers get a sniff of better returns from residential and mixed use, they’ll be there.

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