Want to keep the traffic flowing? UH economists suggest putting in tolls

Want to keep the traffic flowing? UH economists suggest putting in tolls
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s reopening has meant a lot of things, including ― for lots of folks ― the return of gridlock traffic after months of smooth sailing on the highways.

The brief respite has University of Hawaii economists suggesting some more long-term fixes that could keep traffic flowing better.

They say putting in a strategic toll system and staggering work hours could help.

A recent report from the UH Economic Research Organization notes that pre-pandemic traffic congestion cost an estimated $690 million, mainly paid through lost time and productivity as workers sat idle in traffic.

They say one way to ease gridlock would be to institution a rush-hour toll ― a fee of around $5 to $10 a day on drivers who are on the highway during morning and afternoon commute times.

Researchers said revenues from the toll could be rebated to local residents with more of it sent to lower-income households.

UHERO also said employers should allow workers to stagger their work hours or continue remote work set-ups established during the pandemic.

“If the congestion zone fee was in place only during weekday rush hours, workers and firms would have an incentive to allow for more flexible work hours,” UHERO said.

“Workers would also have increased incentives to carpool or take TheBus. And when rush hour traffic improves, the incentives for other drivers to take more trips during rush hour is reduced because they too must also pay the congestion zone fee.”

To read UHERO’s full report, click here.

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