Why Bigger Roads Make Traffic Worse, and Other Summer Travel News

It’s a short week—a holiday week—and hopefully that means you’re outside eating grilled foods or on a couch catching up with Stranger Things. But it’s very possible that you had to travel somewhere. Or are at least planning to travel this summer. That’s why we’re pausing our usual program this week to look back at some of our best travel work from the past year or so. We answer questions like: My airline just screwed me over. What are my rights? Why can’t roads be built to prevent traffic? And what does my July Fourth shopping spree have to do with terrible congestion? You’ve got curious queries; we have answers. Let’s get you caught up.

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Headlines

Stories you might have missed about holiday travel

  • What happened when one writer tried to opt out of facial recognition at the airport.
  • “What would it take to make the US a transcontinental Whoville, where the only thing louder than the roar of efficient travel is the constant caroling?”
  • Why building bigger roads actually makes traffic worse.
  • Waze gave drivers sneaky ways to avoid traffic. Now it wants drivers to make friends.
  • What does your Amazon Prime addiction have to do with traffic? “Today’s fast-delivery system is set up for customer convenience, not for the city’s transportation system.”
  • Flight delayed? Here’s what you need to know to get some of your $$ back.
  • You just might be able to take a public bus to the hiking trail this summer.
  • What the tourism industry might learn from your friendly neighborhood traffic engineer.
  • Beachgoers stuck in traffic vs. Stonehenge.

Festive Public Transit Blooper of the Week

Everyone wants to get into the celebratory July Fourth spirit, even San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Authority. On Monday, SFTMA reported its Muni trains were experiencing a delay because of … a balloon, which got stuck in a tunnel. It seems the agency never succeeded in capturing the air-filled delight, but did eventually return its trains to regular service.

Stat of the Week

48.9 million

The number of Americans expected to travel for the July 4 holiday, according to AAA—a record! Low gas prices, a strong economy, low unemployment, and rising disposable incomes are convincing more Americans than ever to hit the road, AAA says.

In the Rearview

Essential stories from WIRED’s canon
If you’re really super serious about going somewhere this holiday, consider WIRED’s guide to time travel.

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