The Economics Of Speedbumps

April 17, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Tyler Cowen wrote about the economics of speedbumps:

  • It’s weird that in today’s day and age, we’re using speedbumps – essentially stone aged technology – to regulate traffic.
  • They’re a very public symbol that an area values safety over convenience.
  • But they increase carbon emissions.
  • They can also slow down the response of emergency vehicles, making their net contribution to public safety debatable.
  • And cars sometimes swerve around them, or sharply accelerate after crossing one, possibly leading to more harm than good.
  • So are speed bumps worth it? If they were then neighbourhoods that had them should have higher property values – since they were safer – than those that didn’t.
  • Yet there is no clear evidence that speedbumps increase property values.
  • But the private sector continues to invest in them, in places like mall parking lots. This indicates that there is a positive rate of return on speedbumps.

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