Manhattan congestion controls

A group of politicians in New York have proposed another solution to Manhattan’s traffic problems to counter Bloomberg’s congestion pricing idea. The group’s full report is here (pdf). The report notes that for-hire vehicles (taxis, limos, “black cars”) are responsible for 40% of Vehicle Miles of Travel (VMT). Interestingly, 13% of all VMTs are just taxis cruising around looking for passengers. The report proposes these excellent ideas:

  • Substantially increasing the number of cab stands in the central business district, especially at sites that generate large numbers of trips
  • Expanding the number of Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) – designated locations from which group rides are permitted
  • Expand “electronic hailing” of cabs via mobile phone and text messaging

The last two are similar to Christopher Alexander’s proposal in “A Pattern Language” for city transit: small shared-ride taxis can take different people to different locations on the same route, kind of like SuperShuttle. Lots of people in Midtown are taking cabs between the same general areas. If they had shared taxis that left every 5 minutes, this could reduce some traffic in hotspots.

In my opinion, traffic can be improved markedly if drivers are allowed to run over pedestrians who walk across the street when cars have a green light. There’s not much traffic in Grand Theft Auto.

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