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Managing Urban Traffic Congestion

Road congestion is a maddening feature of many large and growing urban areas. National estimates of the cost of congestion often point to losses equivalent to around 1% of GDP in more congested countries. However, congestion is also the result of one of the most beneficial aspects of urban development – agglomeration and its positive contribution to GDP. How can urban regions balance the benefits of agglomeration and the disadvantages of congestion?

This report seeks to answer key questions in managing urban traffic congestion. What exactly is congestion, and when is it excessive? What are the costs and other impacts of congestion? What strategic vision should guide congestion management policies? What technology and operational options are available? What should a reasonable and effective congestion management strategy look like?

The report was prepared by an international Working Group of the Joint OECD/ECMT Transport Research Centre and provides a thorough overview of the nature, scope and measurement of congestion, necessary for any effective management policy. It offers policyoriented, research-based recommendations for effectively managing traffic and cutting excess congestion in large urban areas.

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