Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Idea: Dynamic Toll Rates on the Mass Pike

I'm tempted to write about the gas tax, but since the MassPike public hearings are now underway regarding toll increases, how about talking about MassPike tolls instead?

I would love to see Massachusetts explore a dynamic rate toll system -- that is, rates that adjust dynamically based on actual traffic congestion. For example, during high traffic volume times, higher rates would be charged, providing an incentive for motorists to travel during off-peak times when rates would be lower.

This could be done in conjunction with existing FastLane technology integrated with an automatic traffic monitoring system. This is not new: here's an article about San Diego rolling this out -- 10 years ago!

To make this work for weekday commuters, we would have to be careful to make sure we are offering viable alternatives, like: increased MBTA commuter rail options from and to MetroWest, employer commitments to flexible work hours, etc. But, if we can get major employers, MBTA, MassPike, to align to the public priorities -- then, 'together, we can!'

If you like, or don't like my idea, comment here, but also you can send your own ideas, on the MassPike website, to make sure your voice is heard during the MassPike public hearings.

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