Trying to “fix” congestion with a new highway won’t work, says Farber

head shot of Steven Farber

Professor Steven Farber

UTTRI associated faculty Professor Steven Farber speaks out on Ontario’s plans for proposed Highway 413, or GTA West Corridor, in “A new highway dooms a new generation to become the congestion.” In his opinion piece, published by the Toronto Star on February 26, he is blunt:

The current effort by the Ford government to construct a $6-billion 400-series highway is outdated, ineffective, and flies in the face of recommendations from globally prominent transportation planning experts.

Farber cites studies on increases in road capacity showing that highway expansions actually make congestion worse, not better.

Why are we here again, trying to “fix” congestion with a new highway, when experts know this simply doesn’t work?

One reason is that politicians and the public alike still think that congestion is a problem that we can fix. Congestion is not fixable in a megaregion like the GTA. Congestion is a sign of a vibrant economy, of people leaving their homes to conduct their daily activities, and of goods being transported across the supply chain.

We can reduce congestion in a sustainable way, says Farber, with measures such as:

  • increasing the costs associated with driving
  • improving our infrastructure with more carpool and transit priority lanes, bike lanes, walking and rolling paths
  • increasing reliable transit service
  • intensifying neighbourhoods around existing infrastructure

Read the full article “A new highway dooms a new generation to become the congestion,” Steven Farber, Toronto Star, February 26, 2021.

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