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San Francisco, USA


Highway Network

Have you wonder why a highway is designed like this? Let's say you are driving from a large city A to a large city B. Between them is a mid size city K. Now city A and B are major economic center and travel destinations. City K is none of that. It is yet another non-descript city. Everyone seems to heading to city B. There seems little reason for anyone to stop in city K.

Highway Design 1

The traffic on the highway was free flowing. Yet as you approach city K, local traffic starts to fill up the highways. the It gets to a point when everything comes to a crawl. You curse at the traffic. Then you wonder why must the intercity highway go through city K at all? Why doesn't it just bypass it so that travelers between A and B can have a smoother trip?

Highway Design 2

I have wondered about this for a long time. Now I have a theory. Roads are built for people. Where there are more people traveling, more investment will be made to build roads. This should make pretty good sense.

Now which kind of traffic have higher volume? Intercity traffic between A and B or local traffic in K? Despite your intuition that everyone seems to travel between A and B, there are actually more local traffic in city K. This is demonstrated by the fact that traffic is free flowing between A and B but clogged within city K. Therefore more funding will be allocated to build roads for residents of city K and not a bypass. Since intercity travelers are the minority, they will not be better off than the local residents of city K.

2010.07.10 [, ] - comments



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