The technology that could transform congestion pricing

Manhattan TollsMotorists entering Manhattan will soon be paying for the privilege. How should the city administer their tolls?

As cities like New York move ahead with plans to charge motorists to enter certain urban areas, we need to think about the best ways to manage road tolling.

Now that New York City has adopted congestion pricing in an effort to rein in traffic and raise revenue desperately needed to upgrade public transportation, other American cities are taking a closer look at this often-contentious technique. San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle have all recently released requests-for-proposals to begin studying the possibilities and implications of congestion pricing. As cities study the ins and outs of charging motorists to enter central districts, there hasn’t been much attention devoted to one critical part of congestion pricing package: the technology. How will tolls be collected? How will cities insure compliance in the charging zone? And how will our data privacy be addressed and protected?

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Could congestion pricing finally work for New York City ?

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Worsening traffic in New York City is a personal inconvenience, an environmental blight, and an economic drag—possibly to the tune of $20 billion. That’s the latest projection by the Partnership for New York City of how much the metro area stands to lose for each the next five years, if nothing is done to unjam cars.

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