Driving to work is not as common here in NYC as, say, California, partially because of a strong mass transit system and partially because of parking (parking is very expensive - monthly rates are between $400-500). This is an interesting idea, however, for dealing with the congestion that America's love affair with the car causes: drivers can pay tolls on normally toll-free roads to get in express lanes.

Interstate 15 running north from San Diego is more than a ribbon of asphalt carrying up to 295,000 vehicles a day. It’s a glimpse at the future — a highway that combines traditionally free lanes with toll lanes to give drivers an option when the traffic gets bad.

It is, at once, a solution for easing the worst traffic congestion, raising money for cash-starved roads and a big step toward bringing more timesaving, high-technology tools to daily driving.

The difference from old tolls? The new system combines the latest technologies with good, old capitalism — putting a price tag on a bit of uncongested roadway. San Diego’s version nudges drivers to car pools and to mass transit, with part of its revenues going for high-speed buses that designers promise will outperform trains.

Classic market segmentation - if you value it, pay (more) for it.

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