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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Locked content:
http://select.nytimes.com/2007/07/15/opinion/15friedman.html?hp
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But what does this have to do with I.B.M.? To make congestion pricing work, you need technology — cameras, software and algorithms that can read auto license plates as they flash by and automatically charge the driver or check whether he or she has paid the fee to enter the city center. (The data is regularly destroyed to protect privacy.) That is what I.B.M. is providing for the city of Stockholm, which, after a successful seven-month trial in which traffic dropped more than 20 percent, will move to full congestion pricing in August.

“In Stockholm, we built a system where we have a ring of cameras around the city — 18 entry points with multiple lanes,” explained Jamie Houghton, I.B.M.’s global leader for road charging, based in London. “I.B.M. Stockholm runs the whole system.”
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The technology is there and it works for cities with over one million people. Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto right away, Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa soon after. This is one of those things that can very quickly get improvements in GHGs and air quality, versus the much slower to change items such as buildings and power plants.
 

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Beej: Several California cities--including San Diego--already have specal lanes, with market pricing based on congestion. I prefer market priced lanes to market priced entry fees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the tip. I did some quick searching and it seemed to apply to freeways (must change that name ;) ). Do you know if the technology is sensible in a more urban setting with the ability to enter/exit a road every block?
 

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The congestion charge has certainly reduced traffic in central London - although the congestion in "leafy green suburbia" outside the congestion charge zone seems to be as bad as ever.

A similar scheme might work here, but there are some downsides, such as discouraging customers for downtown businesses. It is also important to have a public transit system that would be a reasonable alternative for most people that currently drive - I'm not sure this exists in many Canadian cities.

There are other things that should be explored as well - for example, perhaps free parking could be offered for vehicles with three or four passengers to encourage car pooling.

As a side note, the variable speed limits on the M25 seem to work well for reducing congestion as well as improving safety.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Buttressing public transit to handle increased demand is a must, but I suspect that the downtown business aspect is overstated. Parking is horrid in most downtowns, so how much drive-up business do many get?

Also, there's the aspect of the local residents and what they want. In Sweden the referendum showed a lack of majority support except by voters in Stockholm. Not surprising, given that while neighbours may enjoy the freedom of walking across your lawn, you may not like it. The pollution and risk of injury are a privilege and, in my opinion, one to be paid for.

Besides, property taxes and utility fees already take from the core to give to the 'burbs. ;)
 

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I love the idea of Congestion Pricing. I also think we should implement the Mexico City drive once every three days policy in our larger urban areas.
 

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Welcome to New York; That'll Be $8
American Cities Look to London for a Controversial Traffic Solution

One of the last free things in New York City may soon have a price tag.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to solve the city's growing traffic problem by charging a fee for every car entering the city. His plan would charge cars $8, and trucks $21, to drive into Manhattan south of 86th Street.
ABC News: Welcome to New York; That'll Be $8

now about that "congestion tax" on realtors ;)
 

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I love the idea of Congestion Pricing.
Sounds just like another tax grab to me. One that will be mismanaged and misused...
If the problem is "congestion" then offer good solutions, not a tax...
 

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I agree with AS here. The congestion lanes allow people to buy a fast ride if they're willing to pay for it--others are welcome to drive slowly. Spending the money provides value for those who want it.

The problem in NYC is that only a few bridges and tunnels provide access to the city--so build something that will get people in way faster if they're willing to pay the price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I agree that if the technology can work for congestion lane pricing in an urban setting, then it is somewhat better in that it provides people with multiple choices instead of just a binary one. AS, did you have other solutions in mind?
 

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AS, did you have other solutions in mind?
It's rather difficult to reverse decades of poor planning. And seeing that in Montreal they kept proposing these odd traffic projects, one gets the feeling that those in power don't drive....
I've always suggested a better synchronization of traffic lights to help alleviate traffic and at night "smart lights" (meaning that the most travelled routes are almost always green unless a vehicle from a feeder road wants to merge).
The often mentioned "transport en commun" - but this seems to be a bust. There are less and less buses/trains, odd hours, unreliable service, no where to park a car at stations and escalating prices. It's stress inducing and really works if you have very "fixed" hours... I've seen the service deteriorate over 20 years and the slide seems permanent.
Montreal is stuck with a few access points, a failing infrastructure, myopic administration who think that you can tax away problems.
Having employers permit flex-hours is one solution for those that can.
 

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Congestion Pricing is a good idea, as long as profits from the system are pumped directly into public transit.

Those opposed to Congestion Pricing either:
a) Don't understand it
b) Are in love with their car too much
c) Think only of themselves and care not of public transportation and air quality

Investing in infrastructure to allow more cars easier access with better flow only increases the problem of single-occupant vehical congestion. We already have too many roads with too many cars. Let's not add to the problem.
 

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Congestion Pricing is a good idea, as long as profits from the system are pumped directly into public transit.

Those opposed to Congestion Pricing either:
a) Don't understand it
b) Are in love with their car too much
c) Think only of themselves and care not of public transportation and air quality
I care not of public transportation, but am grateful when people choose to use it, leaving me free to drive. I still support congestion pricing though--with the money pumped directly into improving roads.
 

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Congestion Pricing is a good idea, as long as profits from the system are pumped directly into public transit.
What are the chances of this happening? Really..
I pay a special tax on my drivers license, car registration, special gas tax, a special municipal tax (above "normal' taxes) and yet this is not enough.... These are taxes already aimed at public transit....



Those opposed to Congestion Pricing either:
a) Don't understand it
b) Are in love with their car too much
c) Think only of themselves and care not of public transportation and air quality
Rather a broad generalization.
Public transportation is a utopia solution. Yes it has it's place and I will use it when practical...
I've experimented with Public Transport and I find it suitable if you have a lot of time to waste and flexible hours.




Investing in infrastructure to allow more cars easier access with better flow only increases the problem of single-occupant vehical congestion. We already have too many roads with too many cars. Let's not add to the problem.
Better flow decreases stop/go and gas consumption. It has nothing to do with single-occupant congestion. You can encourage "co-voiturage" .

As long a people want their nice little house and little backyards, you'll get the urbanization. Not everyone wants to live in the city jungle. There is a quality of life aspect that is overlooked. I like the city but prefer to live in off Island (it's quiet, does not smell of pollution and still have expanses of greenery).

Another solution (in Montreal's case) is a beltway around it (it's on the way)...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
As long a people want their nice little house and little backyards, you'll get the urbanization. Not everyone wants to live in the city jungle. There is a quality of life aspect that is overlooked.
This is something very fundamental to the overall challenge. Things can be tilted in favour of more densly populated neighbourhoods -- or not tilted against them, like our current system is -- but there will be a significant number of people who choose the nice little house (or mini-mansion) and backyard. Good for them; we all have different preferences and preferences change. I am less interested in living downtown than I used to be.

That's a big reason why energy efficiency (public transit being an example of less energy per person-kilometer), by itself, is not enough. Still, there are large gains to be made, such as has been seen in congestion pricing projects to date.
 

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A thorny problem indeed. For those individuals who prefer the larger backyard, cheaper house and less frantic pace of life, most of their choices still involve lengthy commutes to and from work, thus contributing directly to congestion and that air quality issue which apparently so concerns them. Even those who get away to relatively pristine cottage country an hour or two's drive away from the city, every weekend in the summer, are by their actions making things worse, not better.

Still, we can't very well sit and stew in our homes, immobilized. But the solutions and strategies we need are daunting in scope.

But yeah, congestion fees seem inevitable now. The only question remaining, to me anyway, is how efficiently and fairly they will be implemented. Things can't remain the way they have been.
 

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Congestion will never be solved as long as the unofficial Canadian policy is that we should increase our population. If the goals was population stability I could see the point in attempting to deal with it.
 

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The thing is, Canada needs more people, not less. Without emigration our population would curve negative. We risk what competitive edge we currently have.

Unless, of course, people change their minds and opt, once more, for larger families. I am the middle child of five kids.... I was born in 1960. These days very few families hit that mark. Most parents stop at two. Our population is rapidly aging... we need fresh blood to keep the system running.
 
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