Greater City Providence

Streetfilms MBA: Congestion Pricing

Streetfilms has launched a new series of videos, Moving Beyond the Automobile. As Streetfilms releases each video in the series, we’ll be posting them here for you to enjoy.

In the fifth chapter of “Moving Beyond the Automobile,” we demystify the concept of congestion pricing in just five short minutes. Here you’ll learn why putting a price on scarce road space makes economic sense and how it benefits many different modes of surface transportation.

In London, which successfully implemented congestion pricing in 2003, drivers now get to their jobs faster, transit users have improved service, cyclists have better infrastructure, and pedestrians have more public space. More people have access to the central city, and when they get there, the streets are safer and more enjoyable. While the politics of implementing congestion pricing are difficult, cities looking to tame traffic and compete in the 21st century can’t afford to ignore a transportation solution that addresses so many problems at once.

Streetfilms would like to thank The Fund for the Environment & Urban Life for making this series possible.

Greater City Providence

Promoting the smart urban growth of the Greater Providence region.


  • “Congestion Pricing” is guaranteed to lose, politically.

    “Free Market Traffic” has a chance.

  • What do you mean my “Free Market Traffic?” Is that the system we have now?

  • The system we have now to operate our streets and highways is actually Socialism! Just as those Russians glumly stood in line for everything, we glumly wait in traffic lines to go where we need to go. Nevertheless congestion pricing will be smacked down as a tax increase, power grab, dictatorship, etc.

    Unless it is done the way Chicago leased its street parking:

    For a payment that plugs one year’s budget gap, the city can lease its downtown streets to Investors. This will make it OK to have to pay to drive on the streets. The profit maximizing price will result in the maximum volume of traffic that still flows smoothly.

    After a year, the city will be “broke” as ever. The oligarchs will be rolling in a nice new river of cash. Complaints will be dismissed as “Attempting to interfere with the free market.” Corporate media will tell us “There is no alternative” and remind us of the “Sanctity of Contracts.” Best of all, any road diet, expansion of bike lanes or subsidized transit will be a “Taking.”

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