Viewpoint: Pricing Strategies to De-Congest Cities

In the country’s two biggest metropolitan areas, political leaders took big steps toward full-scale congestion pricing strategies last week.

New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to support the plan devised by Governor Andrew Cuomo to charge drivers entering the busiest parts of Manhattan and use the revenue generated to support the city’s stressed transit agency. Across the continent, the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority ordered the agency to study whether congestion pricing is feasible in that region.

With other proposals active in SeattleBostonSan Francisco and others, the idea to charge drivers that travel on roads during peak hours is becoming a popular idea throughout the country. Although its applications in the U.S. have been rather limited, receptivity is growing as congestion continues to increase at the same time revenues become more scarce. Moreover, advanced toll collection technologies enable charges to be collected without slowing down vehicles, thereby removing a significant barrier to implementing such a plan.