The traffic solution most cities haven’t tried

So, it’s 5 o’clock in New York City and I’m
about to catch a cab about 5 miles uptown. Let’s see how this goes. So it just took me 40 minutes to go about 4.5 miles which is pretty typical for New York City rush hour. Despite a speed limit of 25 miles per hour,
the average car moving through NYC is driving at just 7.1 MPH, down from 9.1 MPH in 2010. And if you’re in midtown it’s even
worse, with cars moving around 5 MPH. But it’s not just New York City – traffic
in cities like LA is so bad drivers could be locked in gridlock for hours. Of course this sucks for drivers, but it also makes
activities like biking or walking less safe because cyclists and pedestrians have to weave
through an obstacle course of cars. Not to mention the estimated 20 billion dollars
in lost revenue due to wasted time sitting in traffic. Now, there might be a solution, but if you
commute by car, you are probably not gonna like it. It’s called congestion pricing.
And it means charging drivers for using the roads. “Congestion pricing is an idea whose time has come. And I believe this is the year to actually get it done.” New York’s plan is still in the works, and
it probably won’t be enacted until 2020. But the end game is to reduce congestion by
discouraging people from driving if they have other options like biking, or taking a train, or walking. And to fund public transit at the same time. It’s not a groundbreaking idea: congestion
pricing is already old news in cities around the world. London enacted a similar policy in 2003. This is a necessary step for us to reclaim
some of the space that is currently given to a motorized vehicles without ending up
with gridlock. Nicole Badstuber researches urban infrastructure and policy at the University of Cambridge
and according to her, the system’s pretty simple. When drivers enter the Central London congestion
zone between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., they’re charged 11 pounds 50 pence – about 15 US dollars. New York City’s plan will be similar. When drivers enter Midtown or Lower Manhattan,
they’ll face a fee. There’s cameras all around the roads at the
edges of the congestion charging area. They automatically recognize the name plate
of the car or the vehicle entering the zone. London has a few exemptions in place, like for people who live inside the congestion
zone or vehicles with 9 or more seats and New York City will likely do that, too.
And the system works. So since it was introduced, we’ve seen that private
vehicles entering the zone have gone down by 40 percent. Overall vehicle traffic has gone down by 25
percent. Cycling overall has increased 66% since the
charge was instituted and bus ridership reached a 50-year high in 2011. And wait times for buses decreased 25%,
due to increased service both on buses and on the London Underground. So we now, in comparison, still have much higher frequencies of London Underground services. We can get more people, more capacity, more people into our trains because we have newer trains. And like Nicole said, congestion pricing isn’t
just about removing cars from specific zones, it’s about reclaiming a space for the public. Picture Trafalgar Square, but designed for cars
– an idea that was very much a reality before congestion pricing. You would basically have a bus driving right
past your nose as you come out of the National Gallery Reclaiming that section of road made the square
safer and opened it to more public events. No one could imagine going back to what it
was before, and having these cars and buses zoom past you. London’s plan is widely embraced today, but
it was met with resistance at first, with opponents arguing that congestion pricing
could cut people off from health care, shopping, and schools. Plus, people had to trust that the government
would work efficiently and make significant improvements to their public transit system. But within a year, London’s congestion charging
had majority support. As New York’s plan is being finalized, some
similar resistance is cropping up, which isn’t too surprising. After all, it’s the first US city to implement this
type of congestion pricing and no one wants to pay for something they’ve gotten
for free for so long. But the plan could generate up to a billion
dollars for public transit, a system that most agree desperately needs repair. And the city estimates it will reduce congestion
by 8 to 13 percent and increase speeds by up to 9 percent, making a ride through midtown a
lot easier. So, like other cities where congestion pricing
has been successful, it’s likely that people will end up accepting it. When we think of our roads, in particular in
cities, as a sort of public good, as a public space, then if you’re taking up more of it
you should probably be paying for that privilege. If you start to think about how everyone gets
around the city, charging cars begins to make a lot more sense: You pay for parking, pay for the
subway, pay to take a train or a bus, so why wouldn’t we pay for
a city road? Thanks for watching. If you haven’t already heard, we’ve launched a paid membership program called the Vox Video Lab, right here on YouTube. For a monthly fee, subscribers get access to tons of exclusive content and becoming a member is the best way to support our journalism. So if you want to join, head over to and we’ll see you there.

  1. What a joke. I have idea ask 100euro for each person problem solved. They raod did get allready paid by people by paying a lot of tax for there cars.

  2. It didn't work in London it wont work anywhere else, people just get used to the charge and carry on because surprisingly they need to use their cars or vans for whatever reason.

  3. Of course in cities where people have other means of travel this would work. In places where cars are your only means of travel, then this won't work

  4. Bike Lanes destroyed NYC. People in NYC can not afford a place inside the city. They have to drive in. Only the rich will be able to drive around NY without caring. The poor with families who must drive in will suffer. Btw, the Holland tunnel already charges 12.50 during peak hours ..

  5. This tax can't come soon enough. The 99% make my commute to Wall St a nightmare. The working class should be in the subway rat tunnels where they belong.

  6. I tried to join your paid membership, but YouTube says it's not available in my area! Why do you have limitations if you are seeking support!? I really like your content and would love to join to support and get more

  7. I approve of this in NYC as it's a city that has a decent enough transit system that discourages driving, but this will only work in cities developed before the car. L.A. is going to need a different plan.

  8. Follow singapore model and put heavy taxes on buying cars. Invest in subway systems, electric buses, bring trams back, give tax inventives on cycling etc

  9. Very simple: Live near work or school. Govt can create, monitor and regulate an app for house exchange, both temporal or permanently. Essentially is the creation of a market: Supply and Demand, guys.

  10. Pay to use the road is done when paying for fuel and registering a vehicle… I would purchase a vehicle with 9 seats then…

  11. this makes sense. BUT: if people will be charged all the same price, you end up with the rich cruising the city, while the poor stay out. so you don't only keep people with less income outside of housing within those cities, which is already a problem, but now you also chase them away from even visiting these parts of a city. this even increases social inequality. You have to charge people a certain amount of their income, when they want to enter those zones. otherwise you create ghettos.

  12. The problem with this pricing is that those make at least 100k a year will still strugle with this payment when needed. Those who have millions on account will only say thank you. Look at the type of cars in center of London

  13. The final question in the video says “why wouldn’t we pay for the use of city roads”…well the answer is we DO. A portion of our taxes is used for infrastructure. It’s up to the government to use that money correctly to anticipate and be proactive with problems that are occurring. With the system mentioned, the citizens would have to pay for the use of a road they helped to fund and maintain. 😣

  14. funny, I read that london congestion zone has done exactly zero…well, 2% at the time J was reading about it

  15. America – the country that sent a man to the moon, has the technology to run trains as fast as jets from NYC to L.A, but is stifled because of the lobbying power of Automotives and the Airline companies.

  16. I’ll be surprised this gets passed. Greedy auto and oil industries who conspired and removed several cities rail systems and have successfully kept vehicles fueled by alternative energies at bay. Good luck tho👍🏾

  17. Am I the only one who suspects this is a trojan horse? Like, perhaps, a proposed bill by a union of taxi drivers to lobby congress to kill off Uber and Lyft?

  18. If it's like LA. I'm pretty sure black and brown people do a lot of the lower paying jobs… So are they charged too?

  19. So it's not enough that I pay property tax on my car, it's not enough that I pay a huge sales tax on my car when I buy it, it's not enough that I pay an excise tax on gasoline, and that I pay 2 separate income taxes to both the state and federal government (I don't actually do this last one I live in Wyoming where we don't have a state income tax, just listing it because a majority of Americans do). The government now wants to tax you even more for driving your car that is already taxed hundreds of times over.

  20. Also “newer trains” but the literal system holding a lot of stations up is from the 20’s already making trains pact to the max a lot

  21. Pay taxes to buy a car pay taxes to get car registered pay taxes to have insurance for car pay taxes for gas pay taxes for roadways pay taxes for tolls pay taxes for driving in cities

  22. NY over-builds and packs too many people and cars per road space, then wants to charge YOU because of it? No thanks!

  23. Sorry but your percent improvement hypothetical just doesn’t seem like enough. Getting to a destination 40 minutes 8% faster away would only benefit from a hair over 3 minutes gained. That’s nothing in the long run. So at max we are looking at 5-6 minutes gained on a previously 40 minute drive. So I might have been lucky enough to skip one light??

  24. They should make additional allowances for those with disabilities where driving makes it easier for them to get from point a to doing b.

  25. What about motorcycles?

    If my impression was right, motorcycles in London doesn't have to pay in the congestion zone, some bus lanes are allowing motorcycles just under the rule that bus have first priority, and even park for free.

    Motorcycle could be a solution.

  26. London has a congestion charge zone since ages ago and I haven't seen any easing on the traffic what so ever. That measurement won't fix the traffic, it will only bring more money to support the staff needed to operate the zone.

  27. Why wouldn't we? Because we're paying insurance to drive our vehicles. Things are getting more and more strict, more and more expensive as every year passes. It's crazy.

  28. Shouldn't this be "the traffic solution US cities haven't tried?" It is pretty common in Europe.

    Of course, to do congestion pricing, you have to have good public transit first – and most US cities dont have that – some big cities in the Midwest have practically no public transit at all. Then again, that won't work in the US becasue, y'know, public transit is "socialism". So are bike lanes.

  29. I really like the idea of charging people for using a car, its good for enviroment and raises the living qualitys for eryone not using cars. But the problem is that it affects the people in lower class much more than the higher classes. Also it contributes to surveilance systems.There musst be a better way to regulate traffic.

  30. Just end up pricing everything! Even air! it will make people more air conscious and will help with our population crisis!

  31. I blame ride-sharing services.

    At least for New York anyways. There are far more cars now because Lyft and Uber compared to 2010. Nevertheless, informative video!

  32. U missed UAE 🇦🇪 this country also has this rule here in UAE it’s called Salik Crossing I live here so that’s why I know

  33. RoadSpaceTime is the actual asset that needs to be priced and traded. More importantly, it needs to be implemented in a way that pays people to stay off the road. In cold, hard cash. This is done already with electricity tariffs in some countres, where you pay less, or even receive a payment in addition to your electricity, for agreeing to not draw power at peak hours.

    When this is done for roadspacetime, all sorts of options open up, not least financing the roads themselves and making other options viable.


    Before Uber even existed, this company was getting people shared and singular rides via smartphone app.

  34. 3:35 Sometimes I reflect on when such policies to make cities more pedestrian-friendly make them not only more car-unfriendly, but also risk making cities more bus-unfriendly too (especially if the policies require the removal of bus stops)

  35. How about re-designing cities. Just look at Berlin in the mid 20th century. So much sidewalks space, parking space, divided traffic. Lots of sidewalks space to bike.

  36. This solution has a funny point : if you are rich or have enough money you can more easily use streets and get to your destination. If you have less money you HAVE TO use bike or public transport and can't even use your own car 😐.

  37. Or they could offer an incentive to take public transport. Perhaps the congestion tax could be 4$, but if you have a registered vehicle you get 4$ off public transport when close to the city, or a discount for parking just out of the city.
    Even though the cost or discount can be the same the carrot often works better than the stick.

  38. CM of Delhi had introduced "odd even rule" for private cars. Which means if ur car's license plate has odd no then u can drive it only on odd days of month, same for even no

  39. We have this kind of zone in Milan too and it worked perfectly, now I live in nyc and I would love to see less cars on the roads

  40. eventually all the poor will be weeded out… the rich population will grow in size and the congestion problem will eventually be there again regardless of the fee.

  41. See thats all weel and good but drivers already pay lots of money to drive in the frist place i.e. road tax, insurance, MOT/NCT, not to mention the price of the car and the money to keep in legal good condition and to top it of we still have to pay for parking

  42. this is a terrible idea. usually for these cities people cannot to afford to live in downtown area, so they have to live far away and commute there for work. Usually public transit takes more than an hour and could go up to 3 hours one way. An alternative is to tax those people who live in DT and work in DT but still drive.

  43. It's only a cash cow, London still has a traffic problem, the only difference is the government is milking the situation

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