In Manhattan, frustrated drivers often sit in gridlocked traffic, and their cars often block busy crosswalks, putting pedestrians in danger.

But the city is developing a strategy to combat congestion. After 2020, it plans to charge drivers a fee to enter its most crowded districts.

Energy policy analyst Charles Komanoff says the goal is to eliminate “maybe 15% of all of the traffic trips into and within the heart of Manhattan.”

That means fewer tailpipe emissions and less carbon pollution.

He says over time, the climate benefits will grow. The plan is expected to generate more than a billion dollars each year. Most of that will go to improving the subway system, so even fewer people will choose to drive.

Komanoff says that’s good for the climate and people’s quality of life.

“It will make New York City function better,” he says. “People will be able to get around better. The city will be more economically viable, as well as a more pleasant place to work, live, and visit.”

He expects that New York’s example may inspire other cities with busy, congested downtowns to take action.

“I can tell you that those cities are going to be watching New York very closely,” he says.

Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media.