Congestion pricing has become a hot topic in transportation circles lately as advocates push for new ways of using tolls to influence driving behavior. On the Massachusetts Turnpike, for example, advocates are pushing for an increase in toll charges at peak-driving periods in an attempt to prod some drivers to commute at off-peak times and ease overall congestion.
I am typically a supporter of the idea of congestion pricing, but this reference to the MassPike gave me pause. It seems like increasing tolls during peak commute times would punish commuters for something that is outside of their control. It’s one thing if we are talking about trying to push people to existing, equally functional public transit alternatives. However, the idea that employees are going to tell their bosses “Sorry, I’m working a different schedule from now on because of higher tolls” seems rather fanciful.
If we wanted to instead start pushing employers toward ideas like flexible hours, remote work, and moving jobs closer to where people live, that’s a discussion I can get behind.