Economics of Traffic Congestion

1358 Words6 Pages
Economics of Traffic Congestion Traffic congestion is a growing source of concern and the government is considering a number of measures to reduce it. Traffic congestion exists for a number of reasons. Societies now organise economies so most people will work during the same hours each day. This makes interaction among firms and agencies possible, thereby increasing society's productivity, and raising overall efficiency. However it also requires most workers and students to travel to and from their places of activity at the same times. This puts a huge strain on transportation systems during the morning and evening peaks, and often longer. No large urban areas have enough infrastructure to transport everyone who wants to move during peak hours simultaneously; nor do they have enough resources to build it. This brings some travellers a necessary wait until others have moved. That waiting constitutes traffic congestion. Second, rising incomes increase the purchasing power of the consumer, permitting more households to purchase vehicles and buy homes—mainly in suburban areas. That encourages a shift to private vehicles from public transport, walking, or bicycles. A third cause is population growth. When metropolitan growth is accompanied by rising purchasing power, more households buy more cars, and roads become more congested. The final cause consists of incidents and accidents. They result from high volumes of traffic generated by the first three causes. It is now evident that the problem of traffic congestion is not concerned with poor governmental policy but by economic growth and success. A corrective method already implemented in many areas of the UK, most notably London and Edinburgh, is the congestion charge system in which road users must pay an extra toll in order to enter certain streets or areas of a city. This method has not been hugely
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