Should We Pay People Not to Drive?

Build more lanes, improve operations, let cars do the driving: Are these the best ways to reduce traffic congestion? Richard Mudge thinks a more effective route may be to offer financial incentives to keep people off the roads.

"What if, instead of making everyone pay more, we paid a small number of people NOT to travel during peak periods?" asks Mudge. "These folks would be quite happy. Regular commuters would be pleased as well since overall traffic congestion would shrink, although probably not eliminated."

"But this is a crazy idea! Who ever heard of paying someone NOT to do something? The U.S. farm program pays subsidies to farmers not to grow crops in environmentally sensitive areas and makes payments to farmers based on what they have grown historically, even though they may no longer grow that crop. Of more relevance, several transportation programs exist that do pay people not to travel at peak periods or not to use a single occupancy car."

Mudge goes on to examine four places where such programs have been implemented.

Full Story: They Pay Farmers Not to Grow Crops, Don’t They?


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