Welcome to the website/blog for Disappearing Traffic. It is for people who wish ‘someone would do something about the traffic’. The purpose of this site is to keep the whole ‘Disappearing Traffic’ body of work in one place, with occasional updates on progress, so that supporters can follow the action, provide feedback and suggestions, as well as look back on what has been achieved.
My name is Paul Minett, and I am in the middle of a journey that for me began in the late 1990’s. This “Disappearing Traffic” website/blog begins with my current perspective on the challenge of reducing traffic congestion – that started with inventing a solution, and has morphed into an enquiry into why traffic congestion is so persistent in the face of so many solutions. Many others are involved in the journey, and might at some point contribute to this Disappearing Traffic dialogue. For many, the journey began well before I joined.
Why ‘Disappearing Traffic’? A quick look at Wikipedia shows: Disappearing traffic, also sometimes referred to as suppressed traffic or traffic evaporation, relates to the observation that when highway capacity is reduced (typically due to provision of lanes for buses, street-running trams or bicycles, wider pavements (sidewalks), pedestrianisation, closures for road maintenance, or natural disasters) some proportion of the traffic disappears, resulting in fewer problems of congestion than had been expected. A key purpose of this body of work is figuring out how to get ‘disappearing traffic’ without having to reduce highway capacity. My focus is ‘bad’ traffic, the sort of stop-and-start traffic that causes so much waste and other negative externalities for urban populations. My thesis is that travellers and communities could do more to help manage vehicle trip demand, and we need to figure out how to make that happen.
I hope you will enjoy watching this body of work grow. If you have colleagues or friends who might also wish ‘someone should do something about the traffic’, please pass along the link.
Paul Minett, Auckland, November 2014