Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sliding Scale Bridge Tolls

On a trip across the bay to San Francisco, I hit huge traffic at the toll plaza before getting onto the bay bridge. It also happens that my parents are trying to catch a flight. It occurs to me that there should be lanes with different toll prices for individuals with different time constraints who want to get across the bridge. And I think it should be a sliding scale.

What I mean is, there should be a lane on the bridge (let's say there are five lanes) that costs $10, one that costs $5, two that cost $2 and one lane that's free. Those who have an urgent need to get across the bridge in record time can choose to pay a higher toll for the luxury, or if you have time to spare (which I indeed have on some trips), I can choose to pay little or nothing for my toll. It would better distribute the traffic flow based on urgency, while still raising income to pay for the bridge in proportion to how much it's actually used/needed.

Of course, there are management issues, like keeping people in their prescribed lanes, distributing traffic into those low-cost lanes, etc. But hey, it's just an idea.


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