Critics have long deemed congestion pricing a regressive policy that charges car-dependent people more to drive. A well-timed new report—Pricing Roads, Advancing Equity—out today by TransForm and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), explains how congestion pricing can be employed as a tool to right engrained injustices in the U.S.’s current transportation system.
“What used to sound radical now sounds like common sense—road pricing is urgently needed to address climate change, traffic, and inequity in the transportation system,” said the report’s co-author Stuart Cohen, executive director of TransForm. “We believe road pricing can be a transportation equity solution. It can speed buses and carpools while providing revenue to make mass transit more affordable.”
Congestion pricing can be implemented in a variety of ways, according to the Pricing Roads, Advancing Equity report. But the one that hasn’t yet been tried by a U.S. metropolitan area is “cordon” pricing, which would charge drivers to access a designated part of the city, possibly with prices that fluctuate based on the time of day.