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IBM: Let’s Build a Smarter Planet With Congestion Pricing!

12:53 PM PST on March 2, 2009

IBM launched its "Build a Smarter Planet" campaign to highlight its role in using technology to solve many of the world's problems.  One of their most recent ads highlights and brags about the computer giant's role in bringing congestion pricing, or as it terms it "smart tolling," to European cities.

After spending a year watching Metro try and figure out the best way to qualify for a federal congestion pricing grant without changing the way people commute during rush hour, it's refreshing to see a commercial boldly and forcefully make the case that we need to manage traffic better.  IBM makes the case that Metro wouldn't when discussing the history of congestion pricing and it's effect on traffic: In Stockholm, when smart tolling was applied, gridlock fell by 20%.  In London, traffic in the urban core was reduced to levels not seen since the 1980's.  Each plan, implemented with IBM Systems, charged a variable toll rate based on the amount of congestion.

Here in Los Angeles, our variable toll and congestion pricing plan, the so-called Fast-Lanes, doesn't apply during rush hour, thus will have no effect on traffic patterns during the most congested parts of the day.

But hey, at least we'll be able to see on tv the congestion reduction that we could have happened if our transportation leaders had the political will to back a true congestion pricing plan.

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