Congestion Pricing: The Key to Better Transit?

Noah Kazis describes the explosive success of transit systems in London, Stockholm, and Singapore, and suggests that charging motorists for road use is the secret ingredient that keeps ridership high and public support strong.
May 3, 2012, 8am PDT | Ryan Lue
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

Transportation officials from around the world came together on Friday for a transit panel at the annual conference of the Regional Plan Association, an independent planning organization for the Tri-State Area. Some of the most exciting developments came out of London, Stockholm, and Singapore – each with major investments underway for their passenger rail systems.

Kazis notes that a common thread running through all three of these cities is their use of congestion pricing – that is, adaptive tolls that rise and fall with the intensity of traffic, levied on motorists for the use of busy streets.

"London's phenomenal growth in bus ridership, for example, can be significantly attributed to the fact that surface transit doesn't have to sit in gridlocked traffic, thanks to the city's congestion charge," writes Kazis. "Analyst Kenneth Small estimates that in the typical American city, bus ridership would jump 31 percent due to the introduction of congestion pricing, without bus service even receiving any of the revenues."

Officials in New York, however, are skeptical of the political viability of such measures in the States. "It is a tough political row to hoe," said former MTA chief Lee Sander, who moderated the panel.

Thanks to Noah Kazis

Full Story:
Published on Monday, April 30, 2012 in Streetsblog
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email