The Backwards City: New York City CLOSES Roads to Reduce Traffic

Mayor Bloomberg- Close the roads!
Mayor's Assistant- But why?? There's so much traffic already!
Mayor Bloomberg- Listen, how will cars drive if there are no roads? Traffic solved.

Okay, to be honest...that conversation never happend. But what are they thinking? Closing the roads to reduce traffic is madness! It's completely counterintuitive.

Well it turns out...they may be onto something. NYC's Mayor Bloomberg figures that by closing off major roads in Manhattan, he will force so much congestion that drivers will HAVE to look elsewhere for their daily commute--thus reducing traffic overall. He has taken a bold step by applying economic theory into managing traffic.

Think of it this way: if you are looking for some goods at a store (let's say twinkies at Safeway) and suddenly the price hikes up (let's say from $2.99 to $99.99) you will most likely switch products to find other stores to get your twinkie fix...or maybe avoid twinkies all together.

Mayor Bloomberg figures if you're looking to travel somewhere using a certain road  and suddenly the time it takes increases because the roads have closed (your twinkies at Safeways just cost you $100), you are now forced to look for alternatives (kick your twinkie habit). You will either end up finding new routes, or new modes of transportation--either way you have helped Bloomberg prove his theory and have reduced overall congestion.

It's too early to say yet whether this theory works in a practical setting, but it sure sounds elegant. And in this world of ever-expanding roadways, overpopulated cities, and smog-filled skylines, someone has to try something new to solve our problems.

Newsweeks Original Article: New York City Embraces a Bold New Traffic Theory