Contemporary society — regardless of continent — has become heavily automobile dependent, yielding congested metropolitan regions throughout the world. While bus and rail transit investments are expanding, traffic congestion continues to get worsen. Furthermore, the global transportation funding gap is also a significant concern, with few governments meeting anticipated population and employment growth expectations.
The good news is that many communities have begun to explore a host of innovative strategies to manage and fund transportation assets more effectively. These include:
- priced managed lane applications in the United States and Israel,
- cordon pricing systems in London and Stockholm,
- variable toll rates on toll facilities throughout North America and Europe, and
- distance-based user fees in Germany, New Zealand, and Oregon.
The commonality between all efforts is congestion pricing. Although still in its infancy in terms of global implementation, the concept itself is not new. Singapore started the first such program in 1975 and Hong Kong demonstrated a program in the early 1980s. Even in the United States, variations were proposed, studied, and initially developed, such as Honolulu in the 1970s, New York City in 1987, and Portland in 1995. Since the 1990s, cordon pricing has been implemented more extensively in Singapore, London, Stockholm, Oslo, and Trundheim, and almost became reality in New York City as a part of the Urban Partnership Agreement program. Based on what we as an industry know about congestion pricing programs in operation in North America, Europe and Asia, there is overwhelming evidence that such applications do help manage traffic in congested areas and encourage shifts to other modes of travel.
Copyright © 2015 - David Ungemah