Here is an article from the Washington Post that I thought you might find interesting.
By requiring car drivers to pay a fee to drive in a city at peak hours, congestion pricing reduces traffic and raises money that can be used to support public transit—both worthy goals.
Yet congestion pricing has dubious environmental value. Traffic jams, if they’re managed well, can actually be good for the environment. They maintain a level of frustration that turns drivers into subway riders or pedestrians. Read the entire article here
It sounds counterintuitive to most of us but I think that there is a lot of truth in the article. the easier and more pleasant we make it for people to drive cars by building new and highly expensive freeways, the less likely they are to look for public transport alternatives.
Here in Australia it seems to me that new roads have sprung up all over the place since my last visit – most of them tollways which you can imagine most of my Aussie friends are really irate about. But why shouldn’t we pay the real cost for driving a car? We expect public transport to fully support itself but don’t like it when the same suggestion is made for roads which are hugely expensive to build and maintain. We know our present transport patterns are not sustainable but don’t want to accept the alternatives because it is just too easy to get into the car every day.
Currently I am struggling with the even greater costs of plane travel and the pollution of our atmosphere that occurs every time I fly. We have talked about buying carbon offsets every time we fly but I must confess it has not become a habit for us yet. Maybe I just need some good friends to help keep me responsible in this area.
What do you think?