Half of Seattle’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) come from passenger vehicles, similar to the Bay Area. However, Seattle is far more committed to acting on climate change than the Bay Area. In a far-reaching plan released recently, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan “announce[d] that the City will develop and release a strategy to address congestion and transportation emissions through pricing, coupled with investments in expanded transit and electrification in underserved communities.” This is strikingly important, as no other jurisdiction in the U.S. has considered using pricing as a tool to control climate emissions. As the plan states:
Research suggests that the most effective strategy for reducing GHG emissions and generating the revenue needed to support transportation alternatives is to put a price on the use of city streets through congestion pricing or some other method of pricing transportation externalities. Road pricing reduces travel times, increases travel reliability, encourages alternatives to single occupant vehicle trips, and improves safety.
An excellent report on the plan was published by Curbed.