We all hate traffic, but getting rid of it may mean doing something counterintuitive: adding people.
At least, according to an Arizona Department of Transportation study, putting houses closer together cuts down on the amount of traffic. In other words, greater population density cuts down on traffic.
In fact, the study found that people in denser neighborhoods owned fewer cars, spent less time commuting, traveled shorter distances, and used public transit more often. All of this translates into saved money and time, as well as less traffic. The article explains:
Fine-grained street networks distributed traffic evenly across the higher-density neighborhoods, while every driver in the suburban neighborhoods was funneled onto the same big arterials. At the same time, improved pedestrian conditions in commercial centers made it easier for some drivers to park once and walk from destination to destination, taking cars off the road precisely in the areas that attract the most people.
Significantly, the article also notes the need for a public awareness campaign. That’s something that’s desperately needed in Provo as well; though city leadership in Provo seems to generally appreciate this kind of information, they’re faced with running a city of people who have never been told anything except that density is dangerous. However, as this and many other studies point out, it’s quite the opposite.