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Transit expert debunks common misinformation about highway expansion: 'Can actually work in a positive way'

"There will be fewer cars on the road, thus improving traffic."

"There will be fewer cars on the road, thus improving traffic."

Photo Credit: TikTok

A transit expert is outlining the concept of induced demand after a short clip of Joe Rogan and political commentator Ben Shapiro appeared to make the case for even more highways in the car-dependent United States

In the video shared by TikToker molesrcool (@molesrcool), Shapiro is seen responding to Rogan's complaints about increasingly awful traffic in Los Angeles, saying that the city stopped building roads, which is why the congestion is so bad. 

@molesrcool silly little goofy guy doesn't understand induced demand, news at 11 #benshapiro #joerogan #traffic #cars ♬ original sound - molesrcool

To begin debunking the transportation misinformation, the TikToker shared graphics from Transportation for America that show how building new roads can actually create even more problems by enticing a new set of motorists to use them. 

"So, when you have a congested road and you build more lanes, it alleviates traffic for a little while," the original poster explains in his breakdown. "But before long, the road is just as congested as before and you're right back where you started." 

The TikToker also addresses claims by Shapiro that the U.S. stopped building roads, pointing to the $68.9 billion allocated to repair and improve roads and bridges across the country in 2023. 

"A $19.8 billion increase from 2021," he says, sharing further data from Smart Growth America that found freeway capacity grew 42% faster than the U.S. population between 1993 and 2017. Despite this, congestion and delays spiked by an astounding 144%

Getting stuck in traffic is enough to make many people lose their cool, but that's especially disheartening information considering that just one gas-powered passenger vehicle releases around 10,000 pounds of asthma-linked carbon pollution every year. 

However, building out eco-friendly infrastructure, like bike lanes, pedestrian paths, and high-speed rail lines, can help. These are also solutions that Americans overwhelmingly support, according to a national poll by Hattaway Communications

"But induced demand can actually work in a positive way. If you build dedicated bike lanes, dedicated walking lanes … there will be less cars on the road, thus improving traffic," the OP says, explaining how pedestrians, cyclists, and public transportation riders take up less overall space than individual motorists, improving travel efficiency.

🗣️ Which factor would most effectively motivate you to use an electric scooter-sharing service?

🔘 Saving money 💰

🔘 Avoiding traffic and parking 🛴

🔘 Reducing pollution 🌎

🔘 Not interested in e-scooters 🚫

🗳️ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind

"They need better public transportation infrastructure," one commenter agreed in regard to L.A.'s issue with traffic congestion.

Another person wrote: "68.9 billion! Imagine the rail they could build every year."

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