OneNYC 2050 : Volume 8 of 9 : Efficient Mobility

Reduce congestion and emissions

To increase livability and sustain the city’s economic vitality, street congestion must be managed and reduced. Congestion has been estimated to cost the economy of the metropolitan region up to $15 billion annually, consuming nearly 300 million extra gallons of fuel. While app-based ride services and home-delivery of goods provide convenience for New Yorkers, the growing demand for the city’s finite road space has contributed to falling traffic speeds.
In addition to reducing congestion, the City must also reduce the carbon footprint of unsustainable modes of transportation. We will significantly cut GHG and other polluting emissions by building out a citywide network of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, reducing the size and emissions of the City’s fleet, and incentivizing adoption of low and zero emissions vehicles.
Manage Vehicle Demand On City Streets

The City will reduce congestion by managing demand on city streets, through the implementation of congestion pricing in partnership with the State, prioritizing the use of curbs for strategic purposes, and stricter enforcement of existing traffic laws. We will also implement new programs to mitigate the impact of FHV on congestion, and consider expanding programs such as car share that encourage people to trade in their personal vehicle for a more sustainable option.

  • Implement central business district tolling in coordination with the mta to reduce traffic
    Congestion pricing is an effective method to manage demand on the city’s busiest streets, and will also generate revenue for the MTA. As cities such as London, Stockholm and Singapore have shown, congestion pricing can substantially reduce traffic, noxious emissions, and improve quality of life. Recommendations for New York City’s congestion pricing program will be made by the Traffic Mobility Review Board to the MTA at the end of 2020.  The board will consider managing demand through variable pricing and will consider many factors including, but not limited to, safety, hardships, vehicle types and environmental impact. As revenue from congestion pricing helps ensure transit reliability, ridership will grow and attract people who may be currently be using FHVs or personal vehicles.
  • Leverage new technologies to enforce traffic laws
    Congestion can be addressed not only by managing vehicle demand in core business districts, but also by enhancing existing traffic law enforcement via new technologies and innovative approaches. In particular, NYPD will work with DOT to deploy handheld license plate readers and a license plate-based system for parking administration and enforcement to create a culture of compliance with traffic laws, increase parking-space turnover, and reduce vehicle circling and double-parking.Similarly, DOT will research, and pending state legislation, pilot sensor and camera-based enforcement of double parking, “block the box” solutions, commercial vehicle violations, overweight and over-dimensional rules, truck routes and other parking rules. These initiatives are likely to reduce congestion and air pollution, accelerate progress on GHG emissions goals, and support Vision Zero safety initiatives.Automated enforcement devices deter problem behaviors as drivers quickly come to realize they will likely be penalized.
    As a result of speed camera enforcement, speeding is down
    by over 60 percent at fixed-camera locations, and red-light violations have fallen 75 percent at active locations. Thanks
    to leadership from the State legislature, the number of school speed camera zones will increase from 140 to 750, and the hours and locations of operation will be extended. The City will advocate for State legislation for automated enforcement of select road laws, including automatically assessing parking fines and lane violations.
Congestion pricing is an effective method to manage demand on the city’s busiest streets, while generating revenue for the MTA

Central Business District Tolling Zone

Map of central business district tolling zone in NYC

  • Continue recent congestion enforcement efforts
    New technologies will supplement recent congestion-fighting enforcement efforts which have included increased NYPD focus on block-the-box, streamlined curbside regulation to allow moving lanes during peak hours, and improved enforcement of HOV lanes.
  • Optimize curb use
    The City will optimize the use of curbside space by expanding bus and bike lanes, commercial loading/unloading, safety designs, and other high value uses of the curb. An effective curbside management system supports the City’s economic development, social equity, and environmental sustainability goals. Working with communities and other agencies, DOT will enhance neighborhood safety, desirability, and accessibility to support commerce, create strong vibrant communities, and reduce the harmful impacts of vehicles on the environment.DOT will launch a Parking Improvement Program focused on existing commercial districts across the city to reduce double-parking, improve the overall efficiency of the roadways, and expand commercial loading/unloading zones. This builds on DOT’s existing Street Improvement Program, which improves pedestrian safety and adds bus and bike lanes as well as plazas and other street amenities where appropriate. DOT is also partnering with the Department of Sanitation to evaluate the potential for innovative solutions to curbside collection and storage of waste to reduce sidewalk clutter, increase collection efficiency, and improve quality of life. The City will utilize these and other programs to apply effective principles for curb management.
  • Implement new programs to reduce congestion, boost driver income, and support equitable and accessible FHV service citywide
    In an effort to curb the increasing number of new FHVs and their associated impacts, the City paused the issuance of new FHV licenses for one year beginning in August 2018, with an exemption for wheelchair-accessible vehicles in partnership with the City Council. This legislation enabled TLC to protect workers by establishing a minimum payment for drivers working for the largest FHV companies. It also provided an incentive for companies to increase the amount of time drivers transport a passenger reducing the time spend circling with an empty vehicle.Going forward, we will recommend sensible ways to address FHV-induced congestion and vehicles circling without passengers in the most congested parts of the city, while ensuring equitable access throughout the five boroughs based on a comprehensive study by TLC and DOT by the end of 2019.The City has made considerable efforts to ensure taxis, street-hail liveries, and FHVs are accessible and meet the needs of all New Yorkers. TLC’s Citywide Accessible Dispatch Program, which expanded to all five boroughs in 2018, allows passengers to request wheelchair accessible taxi service by phone or mobile app, or online. In 2019, TLC enacted new rules to ensure greater FHV access for people in wheelchairs. In 2017, the MTA approved a formal pilot with TLC to use taxis and FHVs in its Access-A-Ride (AAR) program, and started offering on-demand services via taxis to some AAR users.
  • Evaluate car-share pilots and encourage electric-vehicle adoption by car-share companies
    In 2018, the City launched a two-year citywide pilot designating nearly 300 parking spaces to car-share services. These services, such as Zipcar and Enterprise, give members access to a vehicle for short-term use (by the hour or even minute) at a cost that includes gas and insurance, thereby reducing the need for private vehicle ownership and demand for parking. The City, through DOT, will consider expanding the pilot in the coming years, and explore prioritizing electric vehicles (EVs) in the expanded pilot deployment.
  • Eliminate parking placard abuse
    To curb abuse of City-issued parking placards, the City will develop new technology to replace physical placards by 2021 and deploy a 10-person DOT placard enforcement unit. By phasing out physical placards, DOT and the NYPD enforcement agents will be better able to identify fraud. These efforts will be supplemented with an increase in penalties and a strict three-strike policy for misusing a placard, that culminates in revocation. DOT’s dedicated enforcement team will initially focus on the two areas of the city most plagued by placard abuse: Lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn.
Develop A Citywide Network Of Electric Charging Infrastructure

To achieve the City’s sustainability goals, an ambitious effort is needed to electrify existing transportation, including developing a citywide network of EV charging infrastructure to encourage EV adoption. To accomplish this, DOT and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability (MOS) will work with public- and private-sector partners to expand the network of publicly available EV chargers across the five boroughs, creating 50 fast-charging stations (full charge in 30 minutes) across the city and pilot-testing curbside Level 2 charging (full charge in 4–6 hours) in partnership with Con Edison.

Through the NYCx Climate Action Challenge, the City will launch a first-in-the-nation pilot to outfit light poles with chargers, initially focusing on City fleet vehicles, with a potential for future expansion. The City will work with the City Council to pass legislation to strengthen requirements on new parking lots to support electric vehicles. This law would increase conduit availability to 40 percent of new parking spots (up from 20 percent today), with 20 percent required to have chargers (up from zero).

Get New Yorkers out of their cars. It will lead to safer streets and a cleaner environment.
—Resident of Richmond Hill, Queens
Reduce The City’s Fleet And Lower Emissions

In recent years, the City has dramatically improved the fuel efficiency of the municipal fleet through increased purchases of electric and alternative-fuel vehicles. Despite this progress, the fleet has continued to grow. By leveraging emerging technology, the City will identify further efficiencies and enable a reduction in the number and size of specific vehicles. This will reduce vehicle miles traveled and emissions, and save half a million gallons of fuel per year.

  • Reduce the number and size of City vehicles
    Significant emission reductions will be achieved by improving the efficiency of the City’s fleet, eliminating unnecessary vehicles and curbing the use of SUVs. Through an Executive Order, the City will expand its use of telematics to monitor vehicle usage and identify underused vehicles. This will eliminate 1,000 public vehicles and ten million annual vehicle miles traveled from the roads, thereby helping to reduce traffic and demand for parking from public vehicles.
  • Green the fleet
    The City fleet will aim to become carbon neutral by 2040. Near term emissions reductions will be achieved by implementing renewable diesel fuel, accelerating the transition to EV and hybrid vehicles, and increasing the efficiency of the fleet, which will help reduce the City’s fuel consumption to below 2014 levels. Longer term reductions will rely on the 100 percent clean electricity grid planned by New York State and encouraging technological advances for emergency response and heavy vehicles.
Incentivize Commercial And Fleet Vehicles To Reduce Emissions

In select locations, the City, through DOT, will work with MOS, the NYPD, DMV, and the freight industry to pilot Green Loading Zones, which dedicate curb space for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) to pick up and drop off goods. If successful, the pilot might lead to a phased expansion of low-emission areas where ZEVs and freight e-cycles would have dedicated curb access, non-ZEV low-emission vehicles might have priority access by permit, and higher-polluting trucks might have more restricted opportunities for loading and unloading, including restrictions of rush hour deliveries. Additionally, DOT will build on the successful Hunts Point Clean Truck Program and expand it to other Industrial Business Zones where heavy truck pollution causes significant, adverse health impacts.

Photograph of an electric car being plugged in.