Traffic Always Increases with Time - Dave's Law

So, have You ever worked out how many times you have travelled to work or wherever - I have. Over the years, since I moved into the house I currently live in, I have travelled into the Brisbane CBD where I work, by train or foot or bicycle for around two trips a day, five days a week, 48-weeks a year for twenty-two years now. That's 480 trips per year less a few days for public holidays and other days when I couldn't be bothered to turn up. All up, I've walked and sat on the train or ridden a bicycle into the Brisbane CBD over 10,000 times.

The time it takes for me to go from my front door to be sitting at my desk at work has gone from around an hour in 1996 to about an hour and a quarter in 2016 and it doesn't seem to make much difference to the time whichever way I travel. Anyway, for the last year or two I've mostly walked to the railway station on my daily commute to work and although there are three railway stations about the same distance from where I live, I usually go to the same one because it's at the end of the line and I get on an empty train with a choice of seats.

So, about a year ago I started thinking it wasn't as quiet around here as it used to be and that there were a lot more cars passing me  than their once was as I trudged to the railway station. Having a lot of time to think, as one does when trudging, I thought I might count the cars that passed me as I slowly shambled down the road, thinking that I would count them again every few months so I could know if the number of cars in this quiet part of suburbia was increasing.

 Well, the results are in. Roughly speaking,  nine months after the first count, there has been a 30% increase in traffic on this 2-kilometre section of road and twelve months on the increase in motor vehicles passing me as I trudged along is around 100%. Yep, double the traffic - it's gone from about six cars per minute this time last year to thirteen cars per minute now.

 This local connecting road was once a quiet road that was a pleasure to ride a bicycle upon, but now I seek the refuge of the back streets and even that measure is of dubious value as more and more drivers of motor  vehicles seek to avoid the congested roads by rat-running. Mostly though, I feel sorry for the people living along that road, because when they moved in it was a quiet road and neighbourhood and now, well, there's cars roaring past their living rooms  and bedrooms from dawn to well after dusk.

 I reckon this is happening all over from Coolangatta to Cape York - it's very annoying!

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Comment by Big Steve on August 5, 2016 at 8:12am

Great work Doc.

I'm trying to get a local street traffic calmed and the councillor said "No point doing a count as we only did it a few years ago". But I think there is because I recon the traffic volume has increased significantly.

Your story makes me think they should.

I also think that there is a kind of learned resistance to motorists behaviour. By that I mean they may come from far afield and will generally sit passively on the main road. As traffic congestion builds they will start looking for alternatives but it will have to be pretty bad.

Once they have found an alternative it won't take nearly as much traffic for them to dart off and use it because they know where it goes. Once this has happened the only way to stop them is by making that alternative less attractive.

GPS units increase the propensity for people to try rat running. They either guide or make it easier to explore. It's happening all over Brisbane and crazily people don't want it happening in their street but they are happy enough to do it in others.. No one wants it but no one wants to stop it.

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