Road Congestion

Here's but one more fixes that fail example of how the initially most sensible answer leads to exactly what isn't desired, and costs money besides.

As the number of vehicles on the road increases the amount of congestion also increases.

The difference between the current congestion and acceptable congestion creates a congestion gap. As people complain more and more about the congestion the appropriate agency finally decides they need to do something to get people off their back. The short term (not so short) response to this situation is to build roads which serves to reduce the current congestion. The unintended consequence of this is that more roads adds to people traveling roads which only serves to increase the current congestion. This also serves to increase the congestion gap necessitating just another cycle of build roads.

A better solution would be to provide more effective mass transit systems which would get people out of their cars thus reducing the current congestion and alleviating the need to build roads. Which implies this example could be elaborated into a shifting the burden structure as the burden for addressing the congestion situation is shifted from the fundamental long term solution using mass transit to road building.

Many thanks to Kathleen Truman, Environmental Studies Program, University of Nevada Las Vegas, for submitting this example.

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