David McWilliams: Introduce a congestion charge and make public transport free

Why can’t our politicians adopt two simple economic solutions to traffic chaos?

At peak times, general Dublin traffic speeds reach about 18 km/h; at off-peak times, speeds are about 37km/h, rising during “free-flow” times to an average of 45 km/h. Photograph: Alan Betson

At peak times, general Dublin traffic speeds reach about 18 km/h; at off-peak times, speeds are about 37km/h, rising during “free-flow” times to an average of 45 km/h. Photograph: Alan Betson

Election season can be an opportunity to signal a change in behaviour. Arguably the politics of behaviour is one of the key crucibles of any modern election. People change their habits and do so regularly.

For example, in the 1970s, people lit up almost anywhere, smoking away in other people’s houses, in pubs and on buses. Today, smokers congregate outside. In the 1980s, drink driving was common. It was regarded as a bit iffy but we did it.

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