The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US Cities

This paper investigates the relationship between interstate highways and highway vehicle kilometers traveled (VKT) in cities in the United States. It was found that VKT increases proportionately to highways and three sources for the extra VKT were identified. Those sources are: an increase in driving by current residents, an increase in transportation intensive production activity, and an inflow of new residents. Provision of public transportation had no impact on VKT. The aggregate city level demand for VKT was estimated and found to be very elastic. The authors concluded that an increased provision of roads or public transit is unlikely to relieve congestion.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    National Bureau of Economic Research

    1050 Massachusetts Avenue
    Cambridge, MA  United States  02138
  • Authors:
    • Duranton, Gilles
    • Turner, Matthew A
  • Publication Date: 2009-9


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 47p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01359173
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Working Paper 15376
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 16 2011 4:24PM