What is the best way to reduce traffic? Tolls!
From The Seattle Times:
New tolls on the Highway 520 bridge have reduced traffic so much that drivers are commonly traveling at 65 mph, maybe three times as fast as they’re used to.
“Clearly, 520 drivers’ adrenaline starts pumping when they see a road that’s usually a parking lot, wide open,” says Jim Bak, spokesman for the Kirkland-based INRIX traffic-data company.
What a tremendous change a toll can make if applied in the right markets. Government brings in revenue and carpooling becomes strongly encouraged. But how much do the tolls have to be to impart such vast impact?
Toll rates vary by time of day, peaking at $3.50 each direction from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Can it be this easy (and correct) to apply such a toll in all markets with heavy traffic congestion? Who loses?
While the toll-bridge traffic moves faster than before, the I-90 speeds are slower, he said. For instance, at 6:18 p.m. Jan. 3, the westbound speed was 64 mph at Medina, and only 23 through the Mercer Island lid — a reversal of the normal 29 mph at Medina and 61 mph at Mercer Island. DOT says rain and crashes have contributed to I-90 slowdowns.
Some drivers say the toll bridge has become an executive highway, providing premium speed for the rich. The annual cost can exceed $1,600 if someone drives at peak times every workday.
Fairness aside, there’s an efficient market!
hat tip Greg Mankiw