Apr 19, 2008

Mary Bridges on urban congestion

The epidemic now threatening cities is traffic. Even urban centers with excellent mass transit, like Paris, are choking on cars. In 1959, economist William Vickrey urged members of Congress to charge D.C. motorists during peak hours. They declined, but Vickrey’s congestion-pricing concept eventually won acceptance—in Singapore (the first city to adopt it, in 1975); Oslo (1990); and London (2003)—and validation in Stockholm, where Vickrey was posthumously awarded the Nobel in economic science in 1996.

The New York Legislature has a March deadline to vote on a congestion-pricing plan for Manhattan being pushed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

~ Mary Bridges, "Sick Transit; Can congestion pricing save cities from auto asphyxiation?," Portfolio, March 2008

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