On yesterday's post about the removal of Sydney's M2 bus lanes for construction, mysterious commenter "Quasimodal" laid out a useful theory of Transportation Demand Management (TDM) for such situations:
It's silly, and a missed opportunity, not to provide a bus priority lane through a construction area if you can, even if it takes away from general purpose capacity. What a great opportunity to perform well for an audience that would not usually take transit!
But there is a technique I call the transportation demand management [TDM] campaign of terror, which is fantastically effective at reducing construction impacts. If you blow a big enough horn about how gawd-awful the traffic will be during construction, that traffic will almost always not occur. People will rearrange their vacations and do whatever they need to do to avoid the problem area.
I don't know how long this [Sydney M2] construction is supposed to continue, and the TDM campaign of terror can't persist indefinitely, but if it's only a few weeks it's possible that the buses rerouted to local arterials will be a lot slower than those that brave the highway traffic if that traffic doesn't show up!
Note that the TDM campaign of terror is different from the TDM nuclear accident, in which one destroys one's economy, causing plummeting employment and related travel. That strategy has been very effectively applied over the past couple of years, reducing traffic volumes all over the world (with the unfortunate side effects of homelessness, despair and civil strife…) Fortunately, it seems governments around the world are establishing policies to continue this strategy for the foreseeable future, using anti-growth austerity programs. As a planner, I'm happy to be freed from the the endless cycle of growth, and to focus on a more environmentally sound steady state (though probably unemployed) future.