Charging drivers a premium to enter a city center during peak hours has improved air quality and reduced traffic gridlock in urban pockets around the world. Rising gas prices and an ailing transit authority might revive the chances that congestion pricing could benefit a U.S. city.
This year Singapore began a flat-rate charge of S$3 to cars driving into the business district during morning rush hour:
Increase of average traffic speed since this congestion pricing went into effect:
How much traffic has been reduced in Singapore:
Year that London started charging a premium to cars driving into the business district during certain hours:
How much particulate matter and nitrogen oxides have dropped in London since then:
How much gasoline use, oil consumption, and CO2 emissions have dropped in London:
Year that the New York City Council approved congestion pricing to reduce traffic gridlock, improve air quality, and cut pollution:
Year that the New York legislature failed to take up the issue of congestion pricing:
Projected revenues from congestion pricing that could go toward helping New York's cash-strapped transit authority:
"$8 Traffic Fee for Manhattan Gets Nowhere," New York Times, April, 8, 2008 - www.nytimes.com/2008/04/08/nyregion/08congest.html?fta=y
"City Council Approves Fee to Drive Below 60th," New York Times, April 1, 2008 - www.nytimes.com/2008/04/01/nyregion/01congestion.html
"M.T.A. Shortfall Renews Talk of Congestion Pricing," New York Times, August 3, 2008 - www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/nyregion/03mta.html
"Traffic, Health, and Climate" - Environmental Defense - www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=6241
"Transportation Initiatives: Pilot Congestion Pricing," PlaNYC - www.nyc.gov/html/planyc2030/html/plan/transportation_congestion-pricing.shtml
Dr. Bill Chameides is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. He blogs regularly at www.thegreengrok.com.