ALGORITHMS SENDING TRAFFIC TO BUSY STREETS. Rick Paulas describes here what is happening to traffic all around the country: “All that extra traffic down previously empty streets has created an odd situation in which cities are constantly playing defense against the algorithms.”
Paulas quotes a professor of traffic studies at Berkeley: “The root cause is the use of routing apps…. but over the last two to three years, there’s the second layer of ride-share apps.”
Even though the app makes the route quicker for the user, that’s only in relation to other drivers not using the app.
I think another way of explaining the problem is that previously (before the apps) individual drivers made their own decisions about which routes to take. The algorithms tend to organize traffic onto the same routes so that the choices of drivers are more uniform. There had been an advantage to the scatter of route choices.