Charging $4 to Drive to L.A.’s Westside Could Significantly Cut Traffic, Study Finds

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Charging drivers a fee to reduce traffic jams has worked in London, Milan and Stockholm, and the idea is gaining ground in New York.

A Los Angeles Times graphic shows the $4 traffic fee study area.
A Los Angeles Times graphic shows the $4 traffic fee study area.

But in Southern California, elected officials have approached the question of congestion pricing with trepidation, saying that such a dramatic shift in a driving-dependent region would require detailed study of its impacts.

The region’s first such study, released Thursday by the Southern California Assn. of Governments, suggests that charging drivers to enter an area of West Los Angeles and Santa Monica just west of the 405 Freeway and north of the 10 Freeway could significantly smooth out rush-hour traffic jams and speed commute times.

A $4 fee to drive into the 4.3-square-mile area during weekday rush hour could almost immediately reduce traffic delays and miles driven there by more than 20%, the analysis found.

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