Update: It seems people do not like the title of this post. Yes, it is true that this is still early days on the 520 bridge. However, I am sure congestion pricing does indeed work (see London, Stockholm, etc.). I’d welcome an argument that explains how the toll will not result in a reduction in congestion on the 520 bridge.
According to the Seattle Times, the 520 tolls have reduced traffic across the bridge by about 30% and have not (yet) had inverse effects on traffic on I-90 (according to the Times), with the 520 reduction exactly as predicted.
Substantially fewer drivers than normal crossed the 520 bridge this morning, while traffic on other major roads did not appear significantly worse than usual, according to transportation officials.
Ridership on buses across Lake Washington, however, appeared to be up.
Nearly 13,000 vehicles crossed the 520 bridge between 5 and 9 a.m., said Patty Michaud, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation. That’s about 30 percent lower than before tolling began. About 80 percent of them had state-issued Good to Go stickers that automatically pay tolling fees, she said.
Meanwhile, alternate routes like Interstate 90 and State Route 522 appeared in good shape during the early commute. Officials had expected rush hour on those roads to start earlier and end later.
So we’re getting a reduction in congestion and a (partially) free bridge to boot. It’s obviously too early to say this is a complete victory, but the theory is pretty obvious.