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6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Economics, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Videos, 6 minutes, 4 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - South, Texas


YouTube Video

How Highways Make Traffic Worse

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  • This Vox video examines why highway expansion makes traffic worse for commuters, opening with the example of Houston's Katy Freeway.
  • The video describes some alternative approaches that may provide some solutions, including improving public transit options, enacting policies to disincentivize people from using highways, and removing highways altogether. 
Teaching Tips


  • This video is a great resource for explaining the complicated phenomenon of "induced demand," when increasing the availability of highway lanes actually does not solve the problem of traffic congestion.
  • This video can be a great case study for students to investigate relevant policies that are impacting climate change.

Additional Prerequisites

  • An understanding of basic economic principles, such as supply and demand, would be helpful.
  • Consider introducing the term "induced demand" before viewing the video.


  • This is a great video to incorporate into science classes, economics classes, or history classes because it discusses the environmental, social, and political aspects of the transportation problems we currently face in the United States.
  • Other related resources include this video about highway removal, this video about road diets, and this video about a woman who lives car-free.
Scientist Notes
Over one third of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions come from transportation. In order to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, the number of cars on the road needs to decrease. In this Vox video, it is shown how creating more highways just leads to more traffic and more cars on the road, resulting in even more greenhouse gas emissions. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science and Engineering
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS-ETS1-2 Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
      • HS-ETS1-3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
  • Related Resources


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