During the pandemic, traffic congestion lessened in Los Angeles. But if history is any indication, soon enough it will return. 

In a new report by the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Politics, A Century of Fighting Traffic Congestion in Los Angeles (1920-2020), authors distinguished professor emeritus Martin Wachs, UCLA History doctoral student Peter Sebastian Chesney, and MURP graduate student Yu Hong Hwang detail how Los Angeles’ constant battles with congestion have plagued the city for nearly 100 years. 

From 1920-2020, Los Angeles has promised to reduce congestion via constructing more roadways, dispersing residents outside the city and creating technological innovations that would direct traffic more smoothly. Yet, each of these innovations failed to reduce the persistent flow of traffic in the city’s roadways.

As a solution, the researchers suggest that the region seriously consider dynamic road pricing. They argue that this solution complements previous attempts at fixing congestion. Above all, it will improve mobility both for car and transit users, reduce the environmental harm congestion has brought to underprivileged communities and will charge rich and poor people in fairer ways for their transportation choices.

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