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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Congestion, Growth, and Public Choices

  • Author(s): Cervero, Robert
  • et al.

Within a fairly short period of time, traffic congestion has eclipsed virtually every other concern -- be it crime, unemployment, or air pol­ lution -- as America's number one urban problem. Public opinion polls in San Francisco, Atlanta, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., and at least a dozen other urbanized areas show citizens are more fed up with con­ gestion than with anything else. In the Bay Area, congestion has been pegged by areawide residents as the number one public menace for four years straight, outdistancing its closest rival -- air pollution -- by more than two-to-one.

Such widespread dissatisfaction reflects, in part, the fact that con­ gestion now afflicts nearly all commuters to some degree, whether headed downtown, reverse-commuting, or traveling on a secondary road. While only a decade ago congestion was the scourge of down­ town commuters, today it pervades the freeway networks of most large and medium-sized cities.

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