A former official from the New York City Department of transportation outlines some ideas for reducing traffic congestion in the city, including a plan to reduce the amount of taxis and limousines on the streets.
"For a couple of days, there were 25% to 30% fewer cabs on our streets - but it really wasn't that much harder to hail a taxi. True, group riding helped a bit, but the real boost was due to higher traffic speeds. Everyone I've spoken to noticed that traffic was moving faster. And when traffic moves faster, cabs can get rid of their passengers and pick up the next fare sooner."
"In traffic science, here's how it works: Let's say you have 100 taxis traveling through midtown at 5 miles per hour, including stops. If you could reduce that number to 90 taxis and get them traveling just 1 mile an hour faster - 6 mph on average - you could actually increase the number of trips they provide. To the public, it would seem that there were more cabs available, when in reality, there would be 10% fewer taxis on the road."
"So, one way to reduce congestion is to reduce the number of taxis - permanently. I did the math when Iwas traffic commissioner and found that the optimum number of taxis was just under 12,000. We now have more than 13,000. With taxi medallion prices at $400,000, it would be too heavy a lift to buy back 1,000 medallions all at once. Instead, the city should purchase 100 medallions a year over 10 years."