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reducing road congestion

how to reduce road congestion


recently dilli banned the use of bs 3 vehicles as the pollution level had shot up. whether this solved the problem or not, is known only to the authorities and even they may not know, the information having got straight to the secret files dilly kept in the dark corridors of government offices where one dare not enter as it might be haunted.

but the basic question is whether the cars with marking less than bs 4 are the real pollutants. this might not be true because cars contribute a small part of pollution. the real problem with the cars is not pollution but the congestion which is blocking the roads, making the drivers take longer to reach their destinations. car at six o'clock in the morning does not produce same amount of pollution as the same car between none and ten am (office time). if we can reduce the congestion, we can reduce the pollution.

one way to achieve this is to stagger the office timings; second one is to allow employees to choose their own timing of coming to office and going from it with stipulated hours in between; third option is to allow employees to work from home.

another way, which is much more beneficial to the environment, more equitable and beneficial to the state is described below. before that we should know the present situation.

each car owner pays road tax. after that he is entitled to use the roads of the city as he pleases. an extra trip does not cost him extra in terms of road tax, (the expenditure on petrol is another factor, but that will be incidentally affected by what is described below). the economists call it the marginal rate of expenditure. the marginal rate on extra trip is zero. likewise, the mileage done by the car does not have marginal cost in terms of road tax.

to cope this, now if we can make a rule that marginal rate of extra trip (or extra mileage) is not zero but a substantial amount., it will discourage superfluous trips. this will reduce congestion and consequently reduce level of pollution contributed by the cars.

the government have often appealed for pooling in cars so that if four persons are travelling to same destination, it would mean less congestion and hence less pollution. the increase in the marginal rate of extra trip and extra mileage will automatically lead to pooling of cars.

the clever driver (and really the owner) can play with mileage by disconnecting the meter. that can easily be taken care of by extrapolating mileage done earlier. and by levying a hefty amount of penalty imposed. incidentally saving of time by this stratagem is another externality derived from this method. saving of petrol will be another externality.


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