Robin Chase: How Cities Might Implement Congestion Pricing

Robin Chase, co-founder of ZipCars is an original thinker. She cares deeply about environmental issues. And not surprisingly, one of her pet themes is sustainable, effective urban transportation and addressing urban congestion.

This is an excellent piece on how NYC and other cities should approach implementing congestion pricing. She keeps personal privacy in the fore of this discussion. And she also keeps in mind practical issues like what it will cost taxpayers to make it a reality.

In specific, she proposes that the solution should be provided by multiple vendors using phone apps and perhaps other forms of GPS locating. With multiple vendors the costs will be born by the private sector, there will be no major capital costs to incur, and upgrades to the system will be software based. But even hardware based solutions would be the responsibility of private providers.

Fortunately, she is clear that there must be strict minimum privacy and performance standards that any solution must meet.

The Pluses

  • No fixed cameras to install and maintain
  • No centralized repository of personal information. Avoiding creating a surveillance state as we are seeing in China
  • No long term contracts with any single provider

Robin Chase proposes:

“…a set of requirements that includes a fare table, data standards, a consumer bill of rights, audit, reporting, and collection expectations. The private sector will figure out how to do it, and—like a credit card, restaurant, or marketplace app—declare what their service fee would be.”

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And finally, here’s a great video Robin Chase produced two years ago on two possible scenarios when autonomous vehicles are a reality.

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