Study finds congestion pricing works best when partnered with land-use planning

Sep 23, 2011

What does it take to convince motorists to drive less -- and thereby reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions?

For some local, state, and federal policy makers, the answer typically lies in land-use planning that makes it easier for people to walk, ride , or use . But for other policy makers, congestion pricing – charging drivers more to drive in heavy-traffic areas during peak hours -- is the better way to go.

Although the two strategies for two decades have been seen by proponents as substitutive rather than complementary – and even at odds – a new study led by Zhan Guo, assistant professor of urban planning and transportation at New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, has found that these fundamental approaches are actually more effective at reducing motorists' vehicle miles traveled (VMT) when developed in concert and in connection with each other.

The conclusion arises from an examination households' VMT data in a pilot mileage-fee program run in Portland, Oregon. The analysis sought to determine whether land-use planning reinforced the benefit of congestion pricing, and whether congestion pricing could strengthen the role of land-use planning in encouraging travelers to reduce the amount of driving they routinely do.

The data for the study were collected over 10 months from 130 households in Portland. The households studied were divided into two groups: those that faced congesting pricing, and those that did not, in order to determine the impact of congestion pricing in different types of communities.

The study found that VMT reduction is greater in traditional (dense and mixed-use) neighborhoods than it is in suburban (single use, low-density) ones, since traditional neighborhoods tend to offer more transportation options. Therefore, the researchers concluded, land-use planning is necessary to ensure that congestion pricing has an optimal effect on overall miles traveled by car, and the two strategies for reducing traffic appear to be mutually supportive, according to the study, "Are Land Use Planning and Congestion Pricing Mutually Supportive," published in the Journal of the American Planning Association.

Explore further: Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Getting a clearer picture on Netflix-Comcast deal

Feb 25, 2014

(AP)—After years of bickering, online video purveyor Netflix and media giant Comcast, the largest U.S. broadband service, are working together to provide their subscribers with a more enjoyable experience ...

Toyota's i-Road to debut at the Geneva Motor Show

Mar 05, 2013

(Phys.org) —Look, it's a hooded scooter. No, it's a trike house. No, it's a, well, it's a concept. The category-challenged debut of the Toyota i-Road will nonetheless attract a number of interested viewers ...

MIT student builds self-balancing electric unicycle

Dec 29, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- If ever you go look outside at all the traffic on the road, it's hard to not come to the conclusion that what’s needed is a smaller vehicle; perhaps one that doesn’t take up any ...

Recommended for you

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

4 hours ago

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.