Roadmap to Gridlock – The Failure of Long-Range Metropolitan Transportation Planning.

Federal law requires metropolitan planning organizations in urban areas of more than 50,000 people to write long-range (20- to 30- year) metropolitan transportation plans and to revise or update those plans every 4 to 5 years. A review of plans for more than 75 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas reveals that virtually all of them fail to follow standard planning methods. As a result, taxpayers and travelers have little assurance that the plans make effective use of available resources to reduce congestion, maximize mobility, and provide safe transportation facilities.

Nearly half the plans reviewed here are not cost effective in meeting transportation goals. These plans rely heavily on behavioral tools such as land-use regulation, subsidies to dense or mixed-use developments, and construction of expensive rail transit lines. Nearly 40 years of experience with such tools has shown that they are expensive but provide negligible transportation benefits.

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AUTHOR: Randal O’Toole
DATED: 1st June 2008