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June 23, 2006

Congestion pricing

As North Carolina’s roads become more crowded, especially in metropolitan areas, transportation planners are looking for new ways to address ever-longer commutes. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden looks at one new concept called congestion pricing.

"It’s a way to encourage drivers to either carpool or use less congested roads, but instead of simply suggesting that -– doing public service announcements saying ‘please carpool’ -- in this way we use price. We use that stick of price as a motivator," says Dr. Walden, of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

"Let me give you two examples: In some cities there will be special lanes dedicated only to cars that have multiple passengers. So in that case, your time price is lower because you are going to have that special lane. You are going to zip along while the other people who have perhaps only have one rider -- they’re caught in the heavier traffic," he says.

Another example, he adds, "is areas that have toll roads often times higher tolls will be charged to cars with fewer riders.

"So these are new methods. We’ve seen a lot of them in other states. I think eventually we will see them in North Carolina."

Posted by deeshore at June 23, 2006 08:15 AM

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