Disappearing Traffic

Welcome to the website/blog for Disappearing 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 as well as look back on what has been achieved.  It is for people who wish ‘someone would do something about the traffic’.

Paul Minett with Auckland Traffic

My name is Paul Minett, and I am in the middle of a journey that for me began in the late 1990’s.  Disappearing Traffic begins as my 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.

As we go forward, I will tell you about progress on the battlegrounds that I am involved in, in sort-of real-time.  I will also create posts about the battles that have gone before, and the people who fought those battles.  You can follow the blog so that you get each update as I post it; or you can bookmark the site and come back and look whenever you like; or both.  Please drop me the occasional comment or message to let me know if you would like to know more, or if you have questions about the work we are doing.

Screenshot 2014-11-06 10.01.45The timing for starting this site coincides with a ‘Spark My Potential‘ fund-raising activity that I used to enable me to go to the International Road Federation Asian Regional Congress in mid November 2014.  I have been very humbled by the response of people both inside and outside my network to support this work.  As I start this site, over 60 people have put their own money on the table to make a statement that they want someone to do something about the traffic, and to support the ongoing development of this body of work.

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