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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Induced Demand: An Urban Metropolitan Perspective


Most studies of induced travel demand have been carried out at a fine to medium grain of analysis- either the project, corridor, county, or metropolitan levels. The focus has been on urban settings since cities and suburbs are where the politics of road investment most dramatically get played out. The problem assigned to induce demand- like the inability to stave off traffic congestion and curb air pollution- are quintessentially urban in nature.


This paper reviews, assesses, and critiques the state-of-the-field in studying induced travel demand at metropolitan and sub-metropolitan grains of analysis. Its focus is on empirical and ex post examinations of the induced demand phenomenon as opposed to forecasts or simulation. A meta-analysis is conducted with an eye toward presenting an overall average elasticity estimate of induced demand effects based on the best, most reliable research to date. 

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