No quick fix for busy I-94 through Central Minnesota

St. Cloud Times reports: No quick fix for busy I-94 through Central Minnesota : Is solution to congestion more lanes, user fees or improved transit?
. I am interviewed by Kirsti Marohn:

“Per capita, traffic levels are about where they were in the late 1990s, said David Levinson, a civil engineering professor at the University of Minnesota. And there’s no guarantee of growth in the next two decades, he said.

“It depends on where people want to live,” he said. Any population could be offset by the fact that people aren’t driving as much, Levinson said.

Levinson said there’s also research underway on mileage-based user fees, which charge people a fee for which roads they use according to the time of day. For example, a motorist might pay 10 cents a mile during peak hours, but 5 cents a mile during off-peak times.

Charging more during peak hours would mean people who didn’t have to travel during those times would find a different time to travel, Levinson said.

Internationally, a few large cities such as London and Stockholm have tried this approach. Many toll roads also have off-peak discounts to help spread out the demand, Levinson said.”

Lots of good graphics in the original article, worth the read.

This is a much more thorough article than one normally sees in the Star Tribune (which ran the abbreviated version from AP, without all the cool data visualizations).

Peak travel in Vancouver, where traffic counts are down significantly from 2006.

A look at traffic counts in Vancouver, BC in the Price Tags blog: Point Grey Road: The Amazing Fact Almost No One Took Seriously shows evidence of peak travel.

Another player in traffic information

From New York Times: Microsoft Introduces Tool for Avoiding Traffic Jams
The key components for any valid system is data. In most cities, there is no real traffic information on side streets. Developing “personalities” for streets is a nice idea, but without real-time data, it is all guess work.
Bill Gates got his start creating traffic counters, with his company Traf-O-Data, so this may be an idea dear to his heart.