The congestion pricing debate

By Felix Salmon
June 2, 2010

I recorded a lively sit-down discussion today with Charles Komanoff, the subject of my Wired article; Reihan Salam; Skymeter CEO Kamal Hassan; and Corey Bearak of Keep NYC Free. We were safely ensconced in Reuters’s fourth-floor studio overlooking the traffic of Times Square, and the full talk should be available on Friday. But here’s a couple of teasers, courtesy of Hassan: firstly, might it be possible to implement a de facto congestion-pricing scheme using only parking fees, with no fees for driving? Is that the way Chicago is headed? And secondly, did you know that after London implemented its Congestion Charge, subway ridership went down, rather than up?

Here’s a video promo for the debate:

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3 comments so far

Have you seen San Francisco’s upcoming electronic parking system?

The parking approach is a great Trojan Horse for congestion charging, despite its relatively poor targeting (eg trucks could still driver through Manhattan), because the principle of charging for parking is uncontroversial. I’ll be watching SF’s progress keenly.

Posted by petewarden | Report as abusive

The whole point of congestion pricing in London was to clear private cars (often occupied by one person) from the streets to free up space for buses thus taking pressure off an overcrowded tube network (it was accompanied by a large investment in the bus network). So why should people be surprised that tube passenger numbers fell, what matters is the total numbers using public transport. Anecdotally I know many people who now use buses when they wouldn’t have dreamt of it previously, a process that appears to be ongoing.

Posted by DrEvil | Report as abusive

Certainly the buses seem to be fuller (and are definitely more frequent) than they used to be pre-charge, but then I’ve moved several times since then so it could just be the different routes.

Posted by GingerYellow | Report as abusive
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