By Felix Salmon, WIRED, May 24, 2010

By measuring the problem—the amount of time and money lost in traffic every year—we can begin to solve it, [Komanoff] says. We can turn the knobs on the entire transportation system to maximize efficiency. Komanoff’s model suggests a world in which everything from subway fares to bridge tolls can be precisely tuned throughout the day, allowing city planners to steer traffic flow as quickly and smoothly as a taxi driver tooling his cab down Broadway on a quiet Sunday morning.

“It’s going to happen,” Komanoff says. “Cities will charge per mile or per minute according to your exact location and the type of vehicle you’re driving.”

Charles Kamanoff is GoLo’s dream user! This man has tracked city transportation Data in New York to determine the average cost of people’s movements, whether they are driving, taking taxis, walking or biking. The moral of the story is that investing in free (or nearly free) public transit systems pays for itself because individual drivers cost so much more in externalities. These range from CO2 emissions, to lost time of workers stuck in traffic, to the medical costs of injuries and accidents. When you get to thinking about all the moving parts, you see that a city’s transit network is a lineup of dominoes: every delay ripples out into the rest of the system. Now the trick is to get publics and legislators to understand external costs and act in the interest of overall efficiency. Think of how much time and money we could all save!