Cities are great. They have sports teams, universities, symphony orchestras, and public parks. But cities also are congested places where getting to work is a nightmare. From Beijing to London, they tend to have a pall of polluted air hanging over them. Together, congestion and pollution can make urban living stressful and even life threatening.
There are many ideas on how to fight urban congestion and pollution. Researchers at the University of British Columbia have investigated more than 60 of them and come up with one recommendation — pay for use pricing of roads. Yup, the unseen hand of market economics is indeed best for the efficient allocation of scarce resources. The study is available now at the Journal of Transport and Health.
Lead author Alexander Bigazzi says “We looked at the entire body of literature, including hundreds of published papers, and identified 65 studies documenting the real world effects of 22 types of traffic management strategies including speed enforcement programs, lane management such as HOV lanes, road and congestion pricing, and trip reduction strategies like incentives for telecommuting or ride sharing.