Monday, October 12, 2015

Build and they will come, or The Black Hole Theory of Highway Investment

These incredible scenes reminded me of a quote by Plane (1995) about the Black Hole Theory of Highway Investment:
"Initial investments in improved highway facilities result in greater ease of travel and hence altered travel patterns, including an increase in average trip length and in the number of trips being made. Over time, as shown in Figure 18.1, this increased demand stimulated by the initial investment in increased transport supply fuels the need for even more facilities, and the feedback process repeat itself. This familiar phenomenon has been called the black-hole theory because some people claim that investing in highways is like throwing money into a black hole" (Plane, 1995 p.439)

photo credit: Rafael Pereira

  • Plane, D. A. (1995). Urban transportation: policy alternatives. In Hanson & Giuliano (Eds.) The geography of urban transportation. (2nd ed.) New York ; London: Guilford Press.