San Francisco Studies Effectiveness Of Congestion Pricing

While congestion pricing has proven effective in London, and now Stockholm, will it work in San Francisco? City Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who also presides over the San Francisco Transportation Authority, suggests doing a study first.

"Congestion pricing -- a strategy that has been successful in Singapore, London and, most recently, Stockholm -- is a system where motorists pay a user fee to drive on the city’s most congested streets. Fees, collected through electronic transponders, would be higher at the most congested times and lower or free at others. The revenues from the charge would then be reinvested in improvements to the transportation system, from signal coordination to transit, bike and pedestrian enhancements."

"Traffic congestion is down 18 percent in London and 25 percent in Stockholm. Transit use is up, and the programs are generating significant revenues for transportation infrastructure development."

But does that mean it will work in San Francisco?

"...we need to be sure that the San Francisco solution fits our congestion problem. Although several conditions suggest a pricing system may work well here, San Francisco’s congestion profile, transit system and role in the regional economy are quite different from other places where pricing has been implemented. We must be careful to take these considerations into account when designing and evaluating potential pricing alternatives.

A thorough and inclusive study process is the best way to vet these ideas and determine whether a congestion charge is right for San Francisco. The federal government believes the concept has potential: The U.S. Department of Transportation recently awarded the Transportation Authority $1 million in grant funds to conduct a feasibility study of area pricing, making San Francisco the first city in the nation to receive such support."

Full Story: Viewpoint: Keep open mind on ‘congestion pricing’

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