The heavy traffic in Masana is a growing drain on the city’s economy

Question

The heavy traffic in Masana is a growing drain on the city's economy - the clogging of the streets of the central business district alone cost the economy more than $1.2 billion over the past year. In order to address this problem, officials plan to introduce congestion pricing, by which drivers would pay to enter the city's most heavily trafficked areas during the busiest times of the day.

Which of the following, if true, would most strongly indicate that the plan will be a success?

Option A
Option B
Option C
Option D
Option E

(This question is from Official Guide. Therefore, because of copyrights, the complete question cannot be copied here. The question can be accessed at GMAT Club)

Solution

Understand the Passage

The heavy traffic in Masana is a growing drain on the city's economy - the clogging of the streets of the central business district alone cost the economy more than $1.2 billion over the past year.

This statement says that heavy traffic is taking an increasing toll on the Masana's economy. The part after hyphen gives a specific statistic to emphasize the point. It says that the heavy traffic in the given district cost the economy a significant amount in the last year.

In order to address this problem, officials plan to introduce congestion pricing, by which drivers would pay to enter the city's most heavily trafficked areas during the busiest times of the day.

The statement starts with "in order to address the problem". We need to be absolutely clear what problem we are trying to address. The problem is that heavy traffic is negatively impacting the economy. So, addressing the problem will mean reducing the negative impact of the traffic on the economy.

What is the plan to do so?

The plan is to charge congestion pricing to the drivers entering the city's most heavily trafficked areas during the busiest times.

Predict an Answer

The plan's objective is to reduce negative impact of the heavy traffic on the economy. The plan is to charge congestion pricing to people driving during the busy times.

What do you think is the assumption underlying the plan?

The fundamental assumption is that such congestion pricing will deter people from driving in heavy traffic areas during busy times. Right?

Because if people continue to drive during busy hours, the plan will not meet its objective.

So, any option that indicates that this assumption is valid will be a strengthener. 

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect.

What proportion of the vehicles are in transit from one end to the other end is irrelevant.

Are these vehicles not going to pay congestion pricing?

There is nothing to suggest that they will not.

Are these guys not going to be affected by congesting pricing?

Again, nothing here suggests so.

So, this option has no impact whatsoever on the argument.

(B) Incorrect. What happens without congestion pricing is irrelevant.

Even if the traffic grows by 50% without congestion pricing, this information will not impact whether congestion pricing is going to reduce traffic or not. 

Think about it. Let's say I ask you whether taking classes from XYZ institute will help me. If you say that without the institute I'll fail, this information will not help me. I still don't know whether after joining the institute, I'll pass.

Even if you say that without the institute I'll score 90%, this information also doesn't answer my query. Probably after joining the institute, my score will go up to 95%. So, the institute may still help.

Similarly, a knowledge of what happens without congestion pricing will not help us evaluate the effectiveness of congestion pricing.

(C) Correct.  If, in other areas, congestion pricing has encouraged carpooling, it might do so in Masana too. In such a case, the traffic is likely to go down, suggesting that the plan will meet its objective.

Some people may say here that Masana may be different from other areas. If the plan has worked in other areas, we cannot be sure that it'll work in Masana too.

I'll agree to these people. We cannot be "sure" that the plan will work in Masana too. However, the objective here is not to be "sure" but to just "support" that the plan will work.

The question to ask is: does your  belief in the plan increase after reading this option?

If the answer is yes, this option is the correct option.

(D) Incorrect. Option D is just presenting a benefit of the reduction in traffic, not telling us anything about whether the plan will succeed or not.

(E) Incorrect. Again, doesn't matter whether 30% or 50% or 80% of the vehicles are occupied by more than one person, the point is whether the congestion pricing will reduce traffic. This option doesn't give us any relevant information to evaluate that.

About Chiranjeev Singh

An Alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad and with scores of 780 (2017) and 770 (2013) on GMAT and 99.98%ile on CAT, Chiranjeev is one of the most qualified GMAT tutors in India. Chiranjeev has earlier served as Director of Curriculum at e-GMAT. Chiranjeev has been helping students ace GMAT since 2012. He follows a concept-based methodology to teaching GMAT and is very committed to student success. You may contact him for any private GMAT tutoring needs at CJ@GMATwithCJ.com. He conducts online sessions for students across the world.

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