Title

THE POLITICS OF CONGESTION MITIGATION

Authors

Brian D. Taylor

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2004

Subject Area

operations - traffic, policy - congestion, economics - pricing, mode - mass transit

Keywords

Transit, Traffic congestion, Public transit, Politics, Political factors, Political aspects, Mass transit, Local transit, Gridlock (Traffic), Government funding, Elected officials, Congestion pricing

Abstract

While failed traffic congestion and congestion mitigation policies are products of misguided premises and flawed analyses, they are also the products of political processes that emphasize highly visible congestion relief projects and programs over actually relieving congestion. Accordingly, this paper makes and defends four propositions. First, that public officials tend to exaggerate the consequences of (widely unpopular) metropolitan traffic congestion for political gain. Second, that (widely popular) public transit investments are unlikely to meaningfully reduce congestion. Third, that public officials can cynically use congestion as a rationale for funding for high-profile, politically-popular transportation (and, increasingly, public transit) projects. Lastly, that the experience to date suggests that various forms of transport and parking pricing offer the best hope for meaningfully reducing congestion in the coming years. However, pricing has several political factors working against it.

Comments

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