4 Ways Cities Can Reduce Traffic Congestion

Sitting in traffic all day can make you want to scream, but there are ways cities can reduce traffic congestion. It's five o’clock and all you want to do is go home, put your feet up, and enjoy your dinner. Unfortunately, traffic is so thick that you start to question if you’ll get home anytime this century. Cities can't eliminate traffic congestion overnight, but they can use strategies to make life a little easier for commuters and city residents.
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Impose Road Tolls

The underlying principle behind almost any plan to reduce traffic congestion is to discourage people from driving during peak traffic hours. Driving is already a luxury, and the last thing people want to do is spend even more money to get from A to B. Charging higher fares when traffic is heaviest will serve as effective motivation for drivers to choose other modes of transport.
Congestion pricing is a proven tool in reducing traffic, as evidenced by programs in major cities, like London and Stockholm. The idea is struggling to gain a foothold in the United States, but the implementation seems inevitable.

Improve Public Transportation

There are a litany of reasons people choose to refrain from the use of public transportation. It’s too crowded, the people are creepy, or the schedule is inconvenient. The benefits, however, far outweigh the drawbacks. When people choose public transportation, it helps the environment, saves money on gasoline, and means fewer cars on the road to clog things up.
Some of the best places to live are places with a good public transportation systems. Cities such as Honolulu, Seattle, and New York all have great systems. Other cities can follow in their footsteps by increasing the availability of public transportation and arranging for publicity campaigns to advertise the benefits of opting for the train or bus instead of a car.
Incentive programs like GreenTRIP, used in California, encourage city residents to use public transportation by giving them free passes. GreenTRIP also includes a car-sharing program, for times when a personal vehicle is a must.

Integrate Traffic Systems

Traffic centers keep an eye on the roads and control traffic lights. Navigation systems in cars also have data on traffic, but the two systems are not connected, meaning that drivers seldom, if ever, get the most accurate, up-to-date information about traffic flow. This type of information disconnect can lead drivers to choose a heavily congested route to get to their destination, when other ways would get them there faster.
Integrating the systems and getting drivers on board with the idea is a long-term project. It's best that cities start thinking about a program now because the amount of licensed drivers in the United States is constantly increasing.

Increase Walkability

People who live close to their place of work may still choose to drive because it's convenient, and their workplace has plenty of parking. Increasing the walkability of neighborhoods, by installing safe sidewalks and ample street lights, can encourage people to opt out of driving.
Change doesn't happen without catalyst. City residents who don't want crowded roadways to take up all their time can communicate concerns to officials to, hopefully, make the daily grind a little less stressful.