Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Miami Advice

A central principal of the Hippocratic Oath is "first, do no harm." The same principal applies to congestion pricing practitioners. As this CNN
shows, Miami transportation officials are learning that even a relatively small amount harm can take a long time to live down.

Miami transportation officials acknowledge that the design and public education around their new high occupancy toll (HOT) lane could have been better, and that their initial shortcomings contributed to early safety problems. To their credit, those officials took quick and effective actions to mitigate the problems.

But the CNN story shows that first impressions have lasting effects. So it's important for officials to invest the necessary time and resources into project design and public education.

Road design and public education are not inexpensive items, and transportation budgets are tight all over. But repairing a battered reputation and regaining public confidence is much more expensive. As the old Fram oil filter ad used to say, "you can pay me now, or pay me later."

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