Babu Veeregowda, Congestion Pricing in NYC
New York City has become more and more congested in recent years. In addition, the state of the MTA New York City Subway has become severely deteriorated to the point where derailments, signal failures, and track fires are becoming more common. Congestion pricing has been proposed in recent years to reduce congestion in Manhattan, to improve travel times, to provide a revenue stream for the MTA, and to improve air quality. Congestion pricing is a market-based scheme that charges motorists to use congested roadways during certain times of the day. The concept revolves around the idea that motorists are “consuming” the wasted time and excess pollution caused by congestion. Congestion pricing has been implemented successfully in cities around the world such as Singapore, London, Stockholm, and Milan. In New York City, there have long been efforts to impose tolls on the free East River Bridges, however, the concept of creating a congestion zone in Manhattan was first proposed as part of a major citywide environmental improvement project by Mayor Bloomberg called PlaNYC in 2008. It was then proposed in 2015 as part of the Move NY plan in the form of bridge tolls in order to both reduce congestion and provide a revenue stream for the MTA. As a result of the 2017 MTA state of emergency, Governor Cuomo proposed revisiting congestion pricing with the primary goal of providing the MTA with a revenue stream. He formed the Fix NYC Advisory Panel, which put together a report detailing schemes as to how congestion pricing should be implemented. The report used a model called the Balanced Transportation Analyzer, which predicts changes in travel patterns (based on mode, route, and time of day) and speeds along with net revenue estimation. The model bases its predictions on existing demand, travel speeds, and the cost of travel. As a result of the report, congestion pricing was signed into law in April of 2019.
Dr. Veeregowda is a Vice President with HNTB New York Engineering and Architecture, P.C. and the Chief Engineer (transportation and traffic engineering) for HNTB’s Northeast Division. HNTB is the second largest transportation engineering firm in the U.S. with over 4,500 engineers and 40 offices around the country. Dr. Veeregowda is a licensed professional engineer, professional transportation operations engineer (PTOE) and associate value specialist (AVS) with more than 30 years of experience managing, complex engineering analysis and design solutions for major highway, transit, rail, airport, bridge and automated people mover (APM) projects spanning the East Coast. Dr. Veeregowda is extensively involved in developing strategic transportation business plans and successfully led several major infrastructure projects. He is proficient in planning, project management, and delivery of major infrastructure and land development projects in the Northeast Division, especially in complex urban areas such as New and New Jersey.