The report emphasizes the fact that people in the U.S. still prefer to use a car rather than public transportation. In particular, in small cities, mid-sized cities and large cities, 91%, 86%-87% and 78% of people travel by their private vehicles, respectively. The phenomenon is going to get worse as the population grows and public transportation systems do not improve.
The large cities in the U.S. with the highest commuting distances are New York, Boston, San Francisco and Washington. From those cities, only in New York, more than half of the population uses public transport.
Moreover, congestion highly affects truck industry. According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), $63.4 billion are lost annually due to truck delays caused by traffic (an estimate of 996 million hours of productivity lost).
Congestion pricing is a strategy that satisfies the general concept of supply and demand. Due to residents' high demand for the usage of roadways, a price should be charged to reflect the actual value of the public good. Therefore, congestion charging will be a fee charged to drivers that use a congested roadway in a city.
The charge systems will be used to finance infrastructure projects. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the roadway infrastracture needs improvements and upgrades that would cost as much as $5 trillion. Therefore, congestion charging could support the effort to raise that amount.
“The mobility landscape is changing: Driverless cars, electric vehicles, e-scooters and even robots are coming to our streets. But we still haven’t fixed our nation’s infrastructure. We all deserve safe roads and bridges, clean air and access to transit. Ultimately, city leaders will be the ones to usher in the innovative, forward-looking systems to get us there”, Brooks Rainwater, senior executive and director for NLC’s Center for City Solutions, stated.
The report focuses on cities that have already implemented similar systems. London, U.K., experienced intense congestion issues back in 2003. Authorities applied congestion pricing and improved the public transportation network. A year later, traffic was alleviated and the average speed of vehicles in the city increased by 30%.