Nobody likes to be stuck in a traffic jam. Traffic jams are the cause of everything from late deliveries of goods and services to acts of road rage that can end up in fatalities. Unfortunately, traffic jams are something that we will just have to deal with for the foreseeable future. But now some scientists say they have come up with a way of eliminating traffic jams.
So, what’s the key to getting rid of traffic jams? Well in Germany they believe it all comes down to money. In Germany, the economic damage caused by congested roads in 2017 totaled approximately 80 billion euros. As the logic goes, currently, road users who cause traffic jams, damage the environment and even incur costs are paying just as much as those who are not involved which means the general public is subsidizing these road users. A toll for road use would bring these costs to light and reduce congestion. But it’s not just a flat rate toll they’re talking about, it’s a dynamic road fee that adapts to the volume of traffic and the situation on the road in real time.
With the roads being more expensive at certain times everyone can choose the route that suits them best. The scientists say this is similar to the way people use navigation systems presently. They believe that a system like this would ultimately reduce the load on main traffic arteries, improve traffic flow and reduce CO2 emissions.
The scientists do not believe that the toll would disadvantage people who cannot afford the tolls. The pricing would be dynamic and offer options. Imagine pricing the left lane of regularly congested, multi-lane roads. A lower traffic volume on the left lane would be the result. This in turn means that the flow of traffic on the right-hand lane also increases.
Of course, there are many other factors to consider and what may work in Germany may not translate that well to other countries.