In a region where congestion pricing has been implemented, a new traffic study by former head of NYC DOT reveals what he says is ultimate cause of congestion

From CBS News New York: Gridlock in New York City is a nationally recognized issue, but according to a new traffic study from the former head of the city's Department of Transportation, the culprit might surprise you. As controversial as the idea of congestion pricing is, it begs the question: What is responsible for the gridlock in Midtown?

Is it trucks? Personal cars? One-passenger drivers?

A new study by former DOT commissioner Lucius Riccio points the finger at ride-share companies. Last fall, the NYU Stern adjunct professor shot more than 90 videos documenting daytime traffic at random Midtown intersections and found TLC plates made up 36.3 of all vehicles on the road. "They are three times more prevalent than taxis and by far the dominant vehicle in the streets, in Midtown, during the weekdays," Riccio said.

He argues that it was a big mistake allowing the city's 100,000 ride-share vehicles to flood the market with minimal fees compared to taxis a decade ago. He proposes that for-hire vehicles should be targeted first under congestion pricing, and says their drivers should pay a permit fee.

"They were not charged the same as yellows. They were only charged $250/year, whereas the medallions were up to $1 million apiece," Riccio said. He also believes taxis should be exempt for congestion pricing. But not all transportation experts agree. Civil engineer George Haikalis, for example, says the only solution to gridlock is to charge everyone equally. "Each vehicle causes a problem. The more vehicles, the more congestion," Haikalis said.

Both Uber and Lyft have refuted the new study's claims. Lyft wrote in a statement, "According to the TLC's own analysis, for-hire vehicle trips cannot be attributed to the city's recent increase in congestion" and that the "industry already pays a congestion fee that has generated over $1 billion in revenue to the MTA."

Source: CBS News New York


Related: New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer announces legislation to combat New York's congestion pricing plan and flashback to when Uber and Lyft app drivers gathered outside MTA HQ to protest congestion pricing