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Why New York City Needs Central Business District Tolling

Congestion is bad for businesses, residents and visitors.

Ambulances stuck in traffic when every second matters. Workers late for their shifts because the bus is delayed. Small business owners who can't go home because they're waiting on slow deliveries. Honking horns, high pollution, short tempers: This congestion is bad for the economy, the environment, and the quality of life for people who live in the CBD, as well as for commuters, business owners, and visitors.

Congestion makes travel slow and unreliable. Traffic increases the time it takes to get somewhere, reduces bus service quality, and costs businesses, since workers cannot do as much when they spend a lot of time in traffic.

Quick Facts on Congestion

  • Congestion has clogged Manhattan streets for decades. Over 900,000 people in vehicles enter the CBD daily. According to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, this is more than 25% higher than the pre-pandemic levels. 
  • Since 2010, average travel speeds in the Manhattan CBD have decreased 23%, from 9.1 mph to 7.1 mph. 
  • In 2018, the Partnership for New York City estimated that congestion in the New York City region would cost businesses, commuters, and residents $100 billion over five years.
  • New York City was ranked as among the worst of U.S. cities in terms of congestion by the 2022 INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard. 
  • On average, each New Yorker loses 117 hours each year due to traffic congestion, which costs them $1,976 in lost productivity and other costs.

We Need to Invest in Our Public Transit

Every weekday, the MTA carries about 5.5 million transit riders. Funding the region’s vast network of subways, buses, trains and paratransit means people can get to work, school or appointments on time. They can travel more quickly and have more time to spend with their family.

Revenue from Congestion Pricing will be used to improve transit. 80% of the money will be used to modernize subways and buses; 10% will go to Long Island Rail Road, and 10% to Metro-North Railroad. Congestion Pricing will make transit faster, more accessible, and more reliable for everyone.

Benefits of Congestion Pricing

The Central Business District Tolling Program can deliver many benefits for New York City, including:

  • Reduced traffic in and around the Manhattan CBD
  • A regular source of money to improve MTA subway, bus, and commuter railroads
  • Better air quality
  • Better access to opportunity
  • Reduced travel times

Congestion Pricing Success Stories

Similar congestion pricing programs in London, Stockholm, Singapore and Milan have proven that assigning a cost to driving in downtown districts reduces traffic congestion and improves air quality. 

 

According to the FHWA Lessons Learned from International Experience in Congestion Pricing Final Report, the following cities have seen significant benefits from their congestion pricing programs:

Stockholm

  • 25% reduction in traffic congestion
  • 25% increase in average speeds
  • 10-14% drop in carbon dioxide pollution
  • 6-9% increase in use of public transportation

London

  • 25% drop in congestion in central London
  • 30% increase in average speeds
  • 20% drop in carbon dioxide pollution

Singapore

  • 24% drop in weekday traffic entering the Central Business Zone
  • Increase in average travel speeds
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