Komanoff on the C-Charge
Charles Komanoff reports from Gauangzhou:
With double-digit rises in car ownership and the city’s relentless expansion outpacing even the rapid provision of transit, the idea of charging a toll to drive into Guangzhou’s city center is gaining traction. The rationale is clear: drivers who pay only for their own lost time but not for the time their trips take from other drivers have little incentive to prioritize trips by car.
Singapore, London and Stockholm have been using congestion pricing for 35, 7 and 3 years, respectively, and the meeting featured detailed reports on how these cities overcame the political hurdles and improved traffic dramatically through tolling. Nevertheless, a congestion pricing plan proposed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg died in the state legislature in 2008. In my talk, I drew these lessons for Guangzhou from New York’s failure:
• To succeed politically, congestion pricing must produce dramatic increases in travel speeds — at least 15 percent — in the charging zone. (The Bloomberg plan promised only a 7 percent gain.)
• The toll must align benefits with costs. In New York, a hefty taxi surcharge — on the entire fare, not just the “drop” — would ensure that residents of Manhattan, who use taxis rather than private cars, paid their fare share.
• Transit improvements financed by the toll revenues must be instituted ahead of time, and fare reductions guaranteed.
The stance of the domestic transportation experts here has been one of cautious interest: appreciation of congestion pricing as a virtually fail-safe tool, tempered by awareness that politics leaves little room for error in designing the toll, choosing the tolling technology, and marketing the program.
This entry was posted on Monday, March 22nd, 2010 at 1:33 pm and is filed under Cars, Cities, Commuting, Congestion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.