Driving in Dallas versus Boston

The other day, I drove from Southwestern Boulevard to McKamy in Dallas. I drove this route right at 5 o’clock and it was rush hour. Nonetheless, I didn’t have to stop for a single red light until the last light before my destination. The timing of the lights was fantastic. I drove 10 miles in about 18 minutes at the worst traffic time of the day.

Why did I notice such a ridiculous fact about my trip? Well, I’ve been driving in Boston so long that I was flabbergasted about how well the trip was going right from the start so I felt compelled to keep even closer tabs on what I was doing.

By contrast, in Boston, it takes me more than 20 minutes to travel 5 miles when I try to go to Harvard square from my house in Medford.

So, Dallas’ road system is roughly twice as good as Boston’s. This leads to people being able to do more in a day and also reduces isolation since geographically, all neighborhoods are relatively easy to reach. This expands competition (more shops are within easy reach, thus they must compete more exclusively on price) resulting again in more consumer surplus (see this paper).

Basically, no wonder I like driving so much. In Dallas, it’s pretty awesome.


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