Chile’s Attempt to Cut Traffic Meets the Law of Unintended Consequences

Within months after Santiago, Chile, implemented a drastic overhaul of its antiquated bus and subway routes with the intention of reducing car use, congestion, and pollution, many commuters abandoned public transportation in favor of cars. In part because the 2007 implementation of the hub-and-spoke system required many more transfers, average daily commuting time increased from 77 to 90 minutes, demand for taxis doubled, the stock of private vehicles rose 5% to 8%, and carbon-monoxide levels rose 27%, according to a team led by Francisco Gallego of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

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