(1) commuting (versus telecommuting)
-- yeah, most jobs in the real world do actually require going to work. you know to meet customers and/or build/install/repair/sell/ship/ a thing.
Telecommuting is only applicable for a small number of people, and even of those people that could do it, most of them are not given the choice. You think upper management cares what your tolls are to get to work?
Most people work business hours because they need to do business. They need to interact with customers and vendors etc. Most people do not choose the hours they work. See (1) above.
Besides, the people who CAN easily choose avoid rush hour traffic times or work from probably ALREADY have chosen to. Nobody chooses being stuck in gridlock for 2 hours a day.
Yeah, this fair. Car pooling and so forth for the win right? Or public transit.
But why do people choose cars? Usually because the alternatives aren't any better. Transit usually takes even longer is crowsed, smells, and the schedules can be punishing and in-flexible. Car pooling isn't much better... you can spend an hour in the car going to and from work straight... or you load up the car, take the HOV lane, but end up spending the same amount of time due to the milk run picking the other people up.
Cranking a toll up on cars IS going to make car pooling and public transit suck slightly less by comparison, but its still going to suck unless there is real investment improving it.
, (5) on that congested freeway
Nobody takes a congested route when better routes exist. Your 'hint' proposes no alternatives. If there is more than one route, and you are spending an hour on THAT congested freeway... its probably because the other one is just as bad or worse.
(6) work at one end of that traffic jam, and (7) live at the other end of it.
This is another single argument despite numbering it twice. Again, think about it, the shitty long congested commute to work is ARLEADY a deterrent; nobody wants to sit in gridlock for 2 hours a day, every day ... so if people are putting up with it there must be a reason.
a) The cost of housing on the 'side of work' is probably far too high.
b) Or the size of housing on the 'side of work' is much to small.
c) Or it is a family and one spouse found work close to home, while the other has to commute.
d) Or there are other compelling reasons to live where they live. They are close to freinds, family, the kids are attending a good school, they enjoy the parks. It's absurd to think that everyone who works in the factory district next to the train tracks just because the corporate lease on that space was cheap wants to live in the shithole ghetto next to it.
Adding punishing tolls on the commuters will make housing close to work that much more valuable, driving prices UP.
So, yes you can raise the tolls to rebalance the equation, but that's not going to get them to move their family of four into a studio apartment that they still can't afford. Nor is the husband or wife going to separate from his family to each live closer to work in a separate home they can't afford. Nor should everyone uproot their entire family every time the company can save 2% on their lease and moves 20 miles in a random direction.
Tolls can realistically nudge things a bit, but they are not a solution. There is no solution. Nothing quick anyway. But long term city planning can make improvements over time measured in generations. Creating communities people can afford to live in and want to live in near employers works. But that's not something you can just decide to do; especially in a relatively free market. It takes time, and planning.