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Aerial photo of Houston highway interchange sparks debate online: ‘This blew my mind’

“We cannot build our way out of traffic congestion.”

"We cannot build our way out of traffic congestion."

Photo Credit: iStock

An aerial photo of a highway interchange in Houston, Texas, went viral across a spectrum of social media platforms.

The photo originally posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, by Michael Hendrix (@michael_hendrix) was reposted by a Redditor on a subreddit community that shares photographs displaying the downsides of urban development.

"We cannot build our way out of traffic congestion."
Photo Credit: Reddit

The image revealed a maze of highways that create a five-stack interchange in Houston in juxtaposition to a zoomed-in photo of the city center of Siena, Italy. 

The shock factor is that the two are roughly the same size, the only difference being that Siena has a population of 30,000 while the interstate has a population of zero. 

It appears that everything is, indeed, bigger in Texas.

While Texas certainly has the space, it begs the question of whether or not it’s the best use of the land and why designing cities around cars has become a dangerous trend. 

In theory, building and expanding highways, interchanges, and interstates should ease the flow of traffic, especially in highly congested areas. The only problem is that reality has proven quite the opposite.

The Rocky Mountain Institute reported that increasing the size of highways doesn’t ease traffic at all. These, sometimes billion-dollar expansions, only create more congestion, attracting more cars while increasing air and noise pollution for drivers and locals.  

So not only are these money-guzzling projects ineffective, but they’re also abusing the environment, displacing residents, and encouraging even more people to drive.

The best way to decongest traffic-clogged roads is to maximize and invest in public transit so that it’s accessible to the majority of residents.

Texas Monthly reported that Chandra Bhat, the director of UT Austin’s Center for Transportation Research, said, “We cannot build our way out of traffic congestion, like we have done in Texas for so long.”

One Redditor agreed, commenting on the post, “Car bad. Train good.”

An X user, Kendall Baker (@kendallbaker) also reposted the original photo with a caption that said, “This blew my mind.” 

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