A New Chicago Startup Is Working to Bring Congestion Pricing to Chicago

In 2018, the average one-way commute for Chicago residents was 38 minutes, according to City Tech Collaborative. And as roads become more crowded and complicated with the advent of Uber, Lyft, and other new transportation options, traffic conditions are getting worse.

However, a new Chicago startup is developing a system to curb traffic congestion and reduce the impact all this traveling has on the environment, but it comes in the form of a tax.

SpaceBot SURGE, co-founded by David Turner, is making solar-powered sensors that would live on street poles and monitor traffic. The sensors are still being developed, but Turner said the idea is for them to take pictures to identify vehicles and track how quickly they are moving. When the sensors detect high levels of traffic, they could record driver data and report it to the city, who would then tax eligible drivers.

“We’ve done a lot of research on the different applications of how you could use data to help cities and ultimately, we came to the conclusion to put a price on congestion,” Turner said.