You’ve heard all the dirty, unfortunate truths underlying New York City’s transportation system, and you’ve heard about a potential plan proposed by Move NY to alleviate congestion, pollution and unfair fees while bridging the gap in funding that will be used to ultimately better this system. Now let’s look at how we expect this systematic overhaul to play out. For some, the proposal may not sit well as it suggests placing surcharges on cabs and tolls on the East River bridges (and no one likes paying money where they didn’t have to before), but before we get feisty, let’s take a look at the cold hard numbers.
Benefit #1 Improved Travel and Safer Streets
Alleviation of congestion could boost overall traffic speed in the boroughs by 6% which alone would save New York a total of 50 million, yes, 50 million hours of lost productivity a year. In Manhattan, traffic speed would increase by a whopping 20%! This allows for faster travel, fewer polluting, stalling cars, and a 15% higher taxi turnover rate. All of these increases are the result of a reduction of 100,000 cars in the city per year, but an added efficiency that would allow for 115,000 net additional trips per year. To be curt, New York could run much more quickly.
We also expect to see fewer vehicular collisions between other vehicles and pedestrians due to less traffic, the elimination of toll shopping, and hopefully less reckless driving due to road rage. Parents take a sigh of relief.
Benefit #2 Strengthened Economy
Together, drivers/workers in the city and the surrounding boroughs will save 2.2 billion dollars in saved time, and the economy of the city will see $3.60 returned per trip. A higher productivity and a net profit means good things for the city and you know the saying, what goes around come back around.
The surcharges and tolls are expected to generate 1.5 billion in net revenue with 1.25 billion of this revenue being reinvested into the mass transit system, and 375 million of that will go into repairing the streets and bridges that we interact with on the daily (bye bye potholes!). Once this money has been generated and reinvested into the system, we expect to see the genesis of an additional 30,000 jobs in the metropolitan area thus further bolstering the economy as unemployment drops.
Benefit #3 A Cleaner New York
These benefits are a little less quantitative, but with the substantial reduction in traffic and idling cars, expect to breathe in fewer pollutants such as nitrous gases, ozone, and carbon monoxide (just to name a few of the toxins expelled by exhaust pipes). This will be especially beneficial in lower income neighborhoods where bigger highways tend to be placed and environmental injustice tends to be highest. The reported cases of asthma and other respiratory conditions could expect to decrease. Less traffic also means less noise pollution, and as every New York begrudgingly knows, there is nothing more unpleasant than blaring horns at 5am in the morning. Studies have shown correlations between restless sleep and a plethora of health problems including hypertension, anxiety, irritability (among other psychological conditions) and attention deficits, all of which are amplified in children [source]. Plus it’s just annoying.
Beyond health, less idling congestion and improved efficiency means less CO2 and other greenhouse gases being released in the atmosphere. If other cities were to follow in our footsteps, we could make a substantial difference in the mitigation of climate change. These are larger goals, I know, but it is worth considering and striving for.
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Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.