Now hold on a minute.
One of the most famous instances of this phenomena was in Los Angeles. In 2011 and 2012, the state highway department closed a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 405 on several weekends to rebuild overpasses. The media was awash in predictions of Carmaggedon. But surprisingly, nothing of the kind happened.
That's because every news outlet in the City warned people to simply not drive anywhere that weekend for the better part of six months. As a result, people laid in plans to stay local and not drive anywhere that weekend. It's not just that people "avoided taking trips in the area" its that people avoided taking trips throughout LA and Orange county.
So what happens when we take a major urban freeway out of service for a couple of months?
IT FUCKING SUCKS. Because while the authors are all hot'n'bothered about how Carmageddon didn't happen, The Rampture sure as shit did and lemme tell ya - knowing that no matter where you fucking go, there will be construction slows shit down to a fucking crawl. That shit bumped a 45 minute commute into a 90 minute commute and it did it for a solid year.
What this misses is that there’s a deep behavioral basis to travel. Human beings will shift their behavior in response to changing circumstances. If road capacity is impaired, many people can decide not to travel, change when they travel, change where they travel, or even change their mode of travel.
This is fundamentally arguing that people choose to commute and if the road goes out, well shit maybe they won't go to work.
I have an idea. Why don't we assess the economic impact to businesses along that corridor... and maybe assess shipping costs on stuff that passes through Atlanta... and I dunno, maybe take a quality-of-life survey for everybody along those surface streets during and after the repair rather than dismissively say "well, it's Monday and things aren't shit yet so therefore they never will be."