Mobility pricing ensures users pay a fair price for automobility.
Justin VannPashakNov 2
Roads in cities are more expensive than people realize.
Mobility Pricing aims to make sure roads are paid for more directly and efficiently. The deficit in urban road infrastructure is more than just about initial costs and maintenance costs. There are some less than obvious costs associated with roads in cities too. Economists refer to these indirect costs as Negative Externalities. In car-first cities, most roads are causing a deficit, they are losing wealth because revenue collected specifically for road building and maintenance is not covering all direct and indirect costs. Today’s road budgets effectively make them a government social program, paid for in part by user fees and in part from the general tax pool. Tax pools should not be used to cover programs that harm any citizens either physically or financially.
The cause of the direct cost deficit is two-fold. First, roads of the same size cost the same to build regardless of how many people use them. Roads often cost similar amounts to maintain regardless of how much traffic they see. From weather to degrading chemical content in asphalt, roads decay whether we use them or not. In northern climates they often decay faster due to weather that traffic. This represents the direct costs causing a deficit. Additional to this, the indirect costs , also known as negative externalities, cost real dollars and cents. Negative externalities outnumber the positive.
Mobility/Congestion Pricing can eliminate the deficit.
Economists have come up with a solution. Many engineers, plangineers,urban planners, and even some politicians are endorsing this strategy as well. Policies of Mobility Pricing, also known as Congestion Pricing, have been applied with great success in cities like London, Stockholm, Milan, and Singapore. Here’s a good video summarizing the concept. Here’s a link and another link that’ll help get you started on the subject. The concept mimics how we are already dealing with parking in major cities. Parking rates change based on demand; you pay more during the day when demand is high and parking is often free in the evening when demand is low. Congestion Pricing would see the same thinking applied to roads, to moving cars.