To Curb Traffic, Cities Explore Congestion Pricing

Despite its proven success, congestion pricing is a hard sell for politicians

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David McNew/Getty Images, File

Some advocates want New York City to implement congestion pricing on their roadways, NBC News reported. If implemented, drivers on some of the busiest roads in Manhattan during peak hours would have to pay a surcharge; roads that usually are free would become toll roads.

First adopted by Singapore in 1975, congestion pricing has slowly become a go-to solution for cities plagued by heavy traffic, and has since been successfully adopted in Stockholm, London and Milan.

The proven success of congestion pricing is why cities like New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and Boston — the eighth most congested city in the world — have all toyed with the idea. In New York, Governor Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced they want to implement the policy by 2020, and Seattle’s Mayor Jenny Durkan is seriously considering the policy.

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Despite its proven success, congestion pricing is a hard sell for politicians. “People don’t get excited about a program that involves imposing transparent costs on a majority of voters,” Manville said.

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