Los Angeles Neighborhood News

Is 'congestion pricing' an option to fight Los Angeles traffic?

A raft of transportation projects aimed at better Metro connectivity could be completed by 2028. Elon Musk has proposed tunnels to fix the problem. Lyft has even jumped in with a solution to eliminate car lanes.

Another solution is congestion pricing, which Curbed LA provides a pretty thorough explainer on Basically, it’s a toll for drivers commuting into or through a specific area at (traditionally) peak traffic times. The idea is to either encourage drivers to avoid peak times or use public transportation — the latter solution becoming increasingly realistic for more trips given the Metro improvements.

Between the increased revenues from congestion pricing tolls, and the increased fares on Metro as a result of the fee, that could potentially raise the revenues to speed up the continued infrastructure improvements in LA. Curbed cites London, which enacted congestion pricing in 2003, as a prime example of how it works in practice. 

Where it gets tougher in Los Angeles, however, is the pure size of the county as well as commutes that lack a central end/starting point. London is 607 square miles. Los Angeles County is 4,751 square miles — not including the surrounding counties that also commute in and out. Scaling isn’t impossible but there are far more considerations in LA. 

All of those will likely go under the microscope in the coming years in order to better prepare for the future. The city of Los Angeles alone is projected to add three million residents by 2050. Those additional cars will only make traffic worse without a solution in place by then.

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