Top Ten Advantages of

Congestion Pricing

A Letterman-style list of benefits gained from Congestion Pricing

10.More use of off-peak capacity: To avoid fees, many alter schedules to off-peak periods.

9.Increased transit usage: To avoid fees, more people will use transit, car-pooling, telecommuting.

8.Recovers "lost" capacity: In stop-and-go, freeways only move about 70% of the vehicles that they normally do when speeds are high. Pricing guarantees high speeds AND recovers the lost 30% capacity, which in turn reduces the need for expensive new construction.

7.Reduces spill-over to side streets: Yes, many people will divert to side streets, but even more who already diverted will come back to the freeway in spite of the price. That is because freeway throughput will now be ideal, where it was only 70% efficient before. Counter-intuitive, but true.

6.Brings A closer to B: When auto travel is fast and free, a significant share of roadway capacity will be consumed by people who live very far away from where they work. This is often referred to as induced demand. With pricing, millions ultimately shorten their "live, work, play" decisions, because it's too expensive not to. It's a user fee that targets the heaviest users the hardest.

5.It is sustainable! Fast usually means sprawl, but fast + distance based pricing discourages long trips, and encourages transit use. The gridlock alternative means engines run longer, plus stop and go consumes more fuel. Reduced fuel consumption; increased transit and telecommuting; shorter trips - all help reduce dependence on oil, improve air quality, and reduce greenhouse gases.

4.It is fast! - and that helps the economy! Freeways will run faster, but surprisingly arterials also end up less congested! Businesses no longer lose $100 per hour when accounting for driver salary, benefits, vehicle, and value of lost services. Faster means economic productivity gains for everyone, which means more and better jobs.

3.Avoids "Tragedy of the Commons": Defined as 'Demand for a finite resource in which individuals gain no personal advantage by conserving, and ultimately dooms the resource through over-exploitation.' Congestion pricing motivates alternatives, which protects freeway capacity.

2.Revenue for Alternatives: Congestion Pricing is NOT about generating revenue, but it does so anyway. Invest proceeds to upgrade parallel arterials, improve transit, reduce transit fares, etc. Standard fuel taxes only loosely target those who consume expensive freeways at 5 pm. Congestion pricing entices business and those with higher incomes to "tax themselves" for premium time slots.

1.Free-Market Win-Win! Paying for "free" ways is not our tradition. But we also can't afford the price of both free and fast any longer. Happily, another All-American tradition can solve it! Entrepreneurs always hope demand will exceed supply so they can earn a profit. So trade one American tradition for another, and sell premium time slots at fair market value. Then we can all get home to see a child's winning goal, and ambulances can get your friends to the hospital!

Note: Many regions compromise with "partial pricing" by building a paid freewway inside a free freeway. That requires hurculean construction to safely manage traffic. Then they try to recover construction costs with excessively high tolls, which results in under-utilization of the new system. Pricing the entire facility is far cheaper, which means rates can be far cheaper. Why run half-filled buses and trains at 5pm? Use proceeds to make transit free at 5, then deploy more vehicles when the first fill up! Also invest in parallel free arterials.

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$$ Congestion Pricing: The Solution When Other Solutions

Don't Make Cents! $$