MaRS tenant, Skymeter, offers New York traffic congestion strategy

We at Skymeter Corporation, an outlier client at MaRS, have been getting some interesting blog-press recently. We submitted an alternative approach to New York City for the implementation of Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion reduction initiative in the Big Apple.

Three weeks ago, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the body managing the congestion proposal process, published 21 of the 30 of the proposals submitted online and the next day the grass-roots Streetsblog, New York’s healthy-streets advocate published a very favourable report.

“We’re inviting readers to start looking through them and letting us know if you see anything particularly notable,” wrote Streetsblog. “IBM ‘s proposal is probably worth a close look since they developed Stockholm’s congestion pricing system. Likewise, I hear that Bern Grush’s Skymeter is proposing a rather unique technology solution.”

This was preceded several weeks earlier by a very thoughtful blog by Toronto Star‘s Tyler Hamilton called: “Is NYC taking the wrong approach to congestion pricing?”

But most eye-brow-raising of all, on November 27, Crain’s Insider, an influential NYC business newsletter (subscription-only), wrote:
“Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan gets a harsh dose of reality from a transportation technology company offering to build the system. Skymeter, a Toronto firm that uses GPS to track and charge vehicles, says the E-ZPass-based system proposed by the mayor would be too complex and ‘prohibitively expensive’ to modify, and would not ease traffic for long. Chief [Scientist] Bern Grush concludes that the proposal—which grew from the mayor’s sustainability initiative—is ‘unsustainable.’ One transportation consultant notes that among the respondents to the city’s request, only Skymeter would not profit from a bloated infrastructure. In its response, IBM also suggested ways to streamline the system.”

Skymeter is continuing in their efforts to help New York’s Mayor Bloomberg implement a sustainable congestion pricing plan.