Table of Contents

Road Congestion Pricing in Europe

Road Congestion Pricing in Europe

Implications for the United States

Edited by Harry W. Richardson and Chang-Hee Christine Bae

In February 2003, the London Congestion Charging Scheme was introduced and in 2006 a similar policy was introduced in Stockholm. In both cases automobile traffic entering the cordon declined by about 20 percent. This book evaluates these and other similar programs exploring their implications for the United States. This study’s value lies in the fact that it examines road pricing in the real world and not simply from a theoretical viewpoint. As a comparative study it will appeal to both policymakers and academics in transportation economics and planning, urban economics, planning and economic geography.

Chapter 4: National Road Pricing in Great Britain: Is it Fair and Practical?

Stephen Glaister and Daniel J. Graham

Subjects: economics and finance, transport, environment, transport, urban and regional studies, transport


Stephen Glaister and Daniel J. Graham* 1 INTRODUCTION In June 2005 the then UK Secretary of State for Transport, Alistair Darling, addressed the Social Market Foundation, suggesting that the basic principle of a national road pricing scheme would be to charge road users according to the use they actually make of the network at different times and in different places. The Labour Party 2005 Election Manifesto also indicated that the possibility of a national, comprehensive system of road pricing should be investigated as an important component of future transport policy: ‘because of the long term nature of transport planning we will seek political consensus in tackling congestion, including examining the potential of moving away from the current system of motoring taxation towards a national system of road pricing’. More recently, the Secretary of State for Transport, Douglas Alexander, noted: [C]ongestion is getting worse in our major towns and cities and on some parts of the strategic road network. If we do nothing, it could damage our long-term economic growth. But doing nothing is not an option. That is why I am clear that we need . . . to take road pricing off the drawing board and make it work for road users. While politicians are fond of saying that ‘doing nothing is not an option’, and while government support looks encouraging, for the last couple of decades governments have in fact done very little. Indeed, the response to political pressures has been to withdraw plans to provide new road...

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