Re: How to end traffic congestion

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From: Rohit Khare (
Date: Mon Mar 06 2000 - 18:18:43 PST

>I errored in not being specific enough. I meant the areas (wash D.c. etc)
>where the subway system is larger.

Even there, in particular, we can watch the success of arguably the
#1 or #2 best subway in America, and it's not enough. It's great,
especially for getting tourists off the street, but the real reaction
has been to keep new development *outside* the beltway, in NoVa and
out into maryland, where the highways do reach to. Turn US50 into an
interstate-grade highway, and you might have a better chance of
bringing real jobs into the city from College Park, say.

>take yourself out of the high
>tech sector ) making Jack and shit, and they often have to do the lovely

I suspect that we're not communicating about the ultima ratio --
whether such folks' lives -- including my life, for the forseeable
future -- would be strictly enhanced by the kind of accurate costing
Dan is proposing.

Initially, in particular, I can't change wages, but let's see where
we can game the system out to. First off, postulate, as Dan did, that
this is a zero-flux system: by charging a $2 premium in the morning,
that same amount of money will be rebated back to its users during
the rest of the day. Your goal, as traffic planner, is to smooth out
the spikes in demand, and in return guaranteeing a constant,
maximized throughput.

*Any* load over that optimal point makes everyone worse off.

Including our friend Jack.

Now, clearly not *everyone* has to be where they're going at 9:00AM
sharp (those who do are already paying the price of uncertainty by
getting up so early they arrive in an 8:30-9 window anyway). By
enacting a transfer payment, the planner is attempting to sort out
those who absolutely, positively have to get somewhere from those who
can afford to shift their schedules a few minutes earlier or later.

Question: are the kinds of jobs that demand -- inherently, not just
due to foreman meanness -- timeliness the same ones that can't pay
for the $2? Stockbrokers, yes, shipping clerks, perhaps not.

Then Jack should be strictly better off under Dan's regime. Remember,
all we're trying to do here is minimize the harm of traffic, not
punish nor build new highways. At the same time, I can see how we're
never going to get very far because our "democratic" impulses allow
demagoguery to drag everyone's performance down with the mean.


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