Tom Weber said that neither word in the phrase “congestion pricing” is too upbeat, and strung together “the combination evokes thoughts of opening one’s wallet while suffering a sinus headache.” He suggests that the unappealing phrase may have had something to do with the failure of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan for New York City.
Zubin Jelveh, at Odd Numbers, collects some alternatives from branding experts and others, including “EZ-Zone,” “FreeFlow,” and “StreetSmart.” But Jelveh notes that most congestion pricing plans in place around the world don’t seem to need an appealing brand name to succeed: in London the phrase used is “Congestion Charge,” and in Singapore their program is “Electronic Road Pricing.”
On the other hand, Jelveh notes that Milan has styled their plan as “EcoPass.”
Beginning in January this year, to enter the central district of Milan with an automobile required purchase of a pass, with the fee tied to the emissions level of the car. One early report suggests the plan is working to improve air quality in the city. (Of course, improving air quality is easy — economists would want to know how much it is costing to achieve the improvements.) I was unable to locate a more current report in English.
RELATED: In 2006, Lynne posted on Road Congestion Pricing in Stockholm. Last October, I argued that, “Economists do not understand the opposition to congestion pricing.”