Can AI-powered congestion pricing improve transportation equity?

Some cities have used congestion pricing for years, but its widespread adoption could make commutes worse for low-income drivers who cannot afford to pay to use the faster roads. The researchers suggested refunding some of the money from highway tolls in a way that ensures equity; this way, lower income drivers would get more money back than their more affluent counterparts…

“We can achieve both the goals of equity and of efficiency by enabling people to trade time for money,” Devansh Jalota, a doctoral candidate with Stanford University Autonomous Systems Laboratory said in a news release.

The idea has two objectives: making sure no one ends up paying more than before — after accounting for the financial benefits of saving time in traffic — and designing a system that improves equity outcomes for lower income drivers.