How Colombia solves its traffic problems

Drive as fast as possible. Be aggressive too:

Traffic experts had previously been puzzled as to how Bogotá, with 7 million inhabitants and more than a million private cars, is so jam-free. The answer now seems that Bogotáns are simply more aggressive than their counterparts in London, New York and other huge metropolises.

But why the dare-devil style? Olmos and Muñoz point out that, before improvements to Bogotá’s public-transport and cycling infrastructure, and restrictions on the use of private cars, the city was routinely gridlocked. Perhaps formerly frustrated motorists are now revelling in the open road.

Still, freedom comes at a price, say the researchers: one in six Colombians who die a violent death meet their end in a traffic accident.

I’ve long suspected that something like this would prove true. If you can’t afford to synchronize your lights, just let drivers run them at will. The results also may explain why traffic in Mexico City flows at all.

Here is the original research. Here is an earlier MR post on Colombia.


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