Three Non-traditional Congestion-solving Options
Cities cannot lay enough asphalt to solve congestion. Re-shaping behaviors and time can be done today with democratizing effects.
Building roads is brutally expensive. Constructing a new 6-lane Interstate highway can run past $11 million per mile in urban areas. Building rail lines is much the same. The cost of the recently laid surface light rail lines in Norfolk, VA was $43 million per mile and $204 million per mile in Portland. What's more, neither provides a permanent fix. Three non-traditional options could however, help significantly: 1) 5G - while the cost of installing 5G is high ($8B for a single operator), the democratizing power is exponential With it, institutions can serve customers , teach classes and facilitate meetings virtually, and at any time of day without the need for travel. 5G is critical for autonomous vehicles and can be priced to serve every citizen. 2) Flex Hours: Why do rush hours exist? Because institutions are stuck in an 8-to-5 mentality. Auction off work-day start times like the federal gov. auctions RF spectrum. 3) Toll arterial roads. Having users pay for the use of major thoroughfares curbs usage (if priced correctly), raises revenue for alternative mobility solutions and is the fairest market-driven behavior-based solution. People can be convinced to use alternative means of transport if they clearly understand the economic trade offs. Given the tools (5G virtual transport; flex times) and the proper motivation (pricing usage), people will make congestion-avoiding behavior change -- no vehicles required. See Richard Thaler's book: "Nudge" for great inspiration.
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