Two and a half years ago, an attempt to introduce congestion pricing in New York City died a miserable death in the New York State Assembly.

Similar road pricing plans — in which drivers are charged a fee for bringing their cars into heavily trafficked areas — have proven successful in London, Singapore, Stockholm, and several other cities, reducing traffic and pollution while raising revenue that is put back into the transportation system.

But in the United States, congestion pricing advocates have struggled to make the case that it can be a fair and beneficial system for drivers and non-drivers alike. (San Francisco is the only U.S. city that is actively considering implementing a congestion charge.)

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Maybe those advocates should hire Lewis Lehe.

Lehe is a former math and economics student who now makes graphs and charts for the steel industry. He has also made a couple of little movies explaining road pricing that manage to be both funny and informative. They’re a weird and charming mixture of slick animation, bad acting, and low-fi surrealism, and they get the point across very effectively.

We found Lehe’s work on Rust Wire, which featured the videos a couple of days ago. They asked Lehe why he made the shorts:

A bit of background about congestion pricing from Lewis: “Congestion pricing is close to free lunch. It raises money, lowers congestion, and improves efficiency (by letting individuals monetize their time). In the next ten years, many cities and counties will resort to congestion pricing, because (1) congestion is worsening, (2) infrastructure is collapsing, and (3) municipal pension plans are going totally broke. The biggest problem with congestion pricing is equity, but I am confident we can resolve it by using revenues wisely,” he believes.

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Take a look and see what you think. Oh, and don’t be fooled by the false ending in “Is Congestion Pricing Fair?”

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