Also: How cities and states can stop the incentives madness, and reviving the utopian dreams of Tony Garnier.
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What We’re Following
Route of the problem: Everyone loves a good shortcut. That much is clear a decade after the launch of Waze, the navigation app that helps drivers “outsmart” traffic jams with their phones. Along with other GPS routing apps, these optimized directions have become an indispensable service for millions of people seeking to avoid clogged roads. But giving each driver what they want may not be what’s best for the broader transportation system—or even, ultimately, for individual drivers. Now that apps find better routes with more accuracy, they’re creating a tension between road systems and users that transportation engineers call the “price of anarchy.”
That’s not only transforming the physics of traffic; it’s changing the politics, too. As navigation apps send people seeking faster routes through neighborhoods, it’s producing outrage among residents on formerly sleepy streets. In an excerpt from the new book, The Future of Transportation, CityLab’s Laura Bliss describes the transformation of her own childhood street, and what it tells us about our congestion future. Read: Navigation Apps Changed the Politics of Traffic
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What We’re Reading
A bridge designer on how engineers balance risk and beauty (NPR)
Fare evasion costs cities millions. But will cracking down on it solve anything? (Vox)
The vacancy crisis is far from over (Marketplace)
Why boomers, not millennials, are fueling the urban apartment surge (Curbed)
The captured city (Real Life)