Charles Komanoff


Cars II - From auto-free to auto-fee

New: My April 13, 2016 presentation to the Transportation Economics class at NYU's Stern School of Business, "Will Double Gridlock Paralyze New York? An Economist Examines Our Transport Infrastructure Crisis." Eleven slides portraying NYC's street and subway gridlock, and the toll-reform antidote to both. Download as pdf.

My April 12, 2017 presentation to the same class, "Revisiting Congestion Pricing," updating the 2016 slide show. Ten new slides on congestion pricing theory, policy and politics. Download as pdf.

In a similar vein, but with a lighter touch, is my cover article in the Fall 2015 edition of NESEA's "Building Energy" magazine: New York Competes with Boston in Energy Efficiency, co-authored with the estimable energy-efficiency practitioner Andrew Padian.

Since 2007, a primary focus of my work has been developing, analyzing and advocating equitable and effective traffic-pricing plans for New York City. This work has been shaped and supported by the Nurture Nature Foundation, a philanthropy established and guided by the late Theodore W. Kheel.

The analytical heart of this work is my "Balanced Transportation Analyzer" spreadsheet. The "BTA" spreadsheet may be downloaded by clicking here. The most scintillating and accessible account of the BTA remains the 2010 Wired magazine portrait of my career by Reuters finance blogger Felix Salmon. Another superb (and more recent) look at the BTA is taken by British journalist Max Glaskin, in the Jan. 2013 issue of Traffic Technology International. Click here and enjoy the ride.

I currently (2014) serve as senior economist for the Move NY Campaign, a consortium of advocates who have coalesced behind a comprehensive toll-rebalancing plan devised by noted traffic engineer Sam Schwartz. This Oct. 2014 post on Streetsblog conveys the appeal of Schwartz's plan. Earlier posts making similar points are here (May 2012) and here (March 2012).

In December 2013, I addressed China's inaugural public forum on congestion pricing in Hangzhou -- a possible harbinger of future adoption of congestion pricing in Chinese cities, as he reported here for Streetsblog. Along with representatives from London, Stockholm, Milan and Singapore, I was asked to write an account of New York City's political experience with congestion pricing, for publication in a Chinese-language volume to be issued in 2014. My 19-page narrative, Congestion Pricing for New York City, is available here.

A pdf of my March 7, 2012 presentation at New York University Law School's Milbank Tweed Forum, "How NYC Is Breaking The Gridlock On Transportation Policy," is available here.

A graphic (png) showing my estimates of the benefits of the Schwartz-Move NY plan is available here.

A graphic (png) showing my revenue breakdown for the Schwartz-Move NY plan is available here.

My 16-page report from early 2012 arguing that the planned 15-lane replacement Tappan Zee Bridge will cost too much to be financed through tolls on bridge users.

A 10-page report supporting my Jan. 2012 Reuters op-ed on the traffic impacts of adding 2,000 medallion taxicabs to NYC's yellow-cab fleet.

Is congestion pricing economically (and politically) regressive or progressive? I argue the latter in this spirited Nov. 2011 letter to a leading socialist author-activist.

I have written numerous articles on my traffic-pricing modeling for the NYC livable-streets blog Streetsblog. Here are links to some :

December 12, 2011: Cuomo's $320 Million Transit Cut Could Cost NYC Dearly

August 1, 2011: Guess Who Has a Lot to Lose from an MTA Meltdown: Drivers

March 18, 2010: In Any Language, the Cost of Congestion Comes Through Loud and Clear

January 6, 2010: With Congestion Pricing, Saving Time Trumps Reducing Pollution

October 16, 2009: Wanted: Crowd-Sourced Transportation Analysis

October 13, 2009: Paradox, Schmaradox. Congestion Pricing Works.

I also published these pieces in Grist in 2007-08, on larger meanings in the political battle over congestion pricing:

April 8, 2008: Machiavelli Meets The Big Apple: Ten Reasons NYC's Congestion Pricing Plan Went Belly Up

March 31, 2008: High Noon for Congestion Pricing: What We Lose if Bloomberg's Plan Goes Down

July 16, 2007: Valuing The Commons: Congestion Pricing's Hidden Payoff

The following articles trace the lineage of my traffic-pricing work to Theodore (Ted) Kheel:

Feb. 11, 2008: A Climate for Old Men: Spearheading Transit for Livable Cities at 93 (in Grist)

Nov. 15, 2010: In Memoriam: Ted Kheel, Transit Advocate and Visionary (in Streetsblog)

Nov. 19, 2010: Requiem for Man Whose Ideas on Transit Aren't Past (by Clyde Haberman, in The New York Times)

Other articles and papers on traffic pricing

My August 2006 op-ed in Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "Forward-Thinking Idea for a Trendsetter," posing "parking cash-out" incentives as an alternative to a Microsoft mega-parking lot.

My March 2003 op-ed in the Daily News arguing the fairness of East River bridge tolls

My 2003 report, "A Value-Pricing Plan for the MTA" (PDF)

My report for Energy Foundation, "Environmental Consequences of Road Pricing"

My Oct 2001 op-ed in Newsday, "Giuliani puts brakes on car culture"

Two for Vickrey -- my portraits of road-pricing pioneer (and Nobel laureate) Bill Vickrey in the NY Daily News, "The Man Who Had A Cure for Gridlock" (Nov 1996), and New York magazine, "Traffic: Demand and Supply" (Dec 1996)

My 1995 Newsday op-ed, "Should the L.I.E Become a Toll Road?" (with June 2006 intro)

Pollution Taxes for Roadway Transportation: My extensive (40-page) article in the Pace Environmental Law Review (Vol. 12, Issue 1, Fall 1994) outlining a mix of fees, charges and taxes that would internalize most of the unpriced costs of driving.

Article summarizing "Pollution Taxes" law review article.

Crossroads: Highway-Finance Subsidies in New Jersey, 1995 report for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign by Charles Komanoff & Margaret Sikowitz, establishing that driver tolls, taxes and tickets in New Jersey account for only 77 cents of each dollar spent to build, maintain, repair and operate the state's highways and roads.

Subsidies for Traffic: How Taxpayer Dollars Underwrite Driving in New York State, 1994 report for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign by Cora Roelofs & Charles Komanoff, establishing that driver tolls, taxes and tickets in New York State account for only 65 cents of each dollar spent to build, maintain, repair and operate the state's highways and roads.