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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 6: Road User Charging in the UK: The Policy Prospects

Martin G. Richards

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


Martin G. Richards 1 INTRODUCTION Road pricing has been on the political agenda in the UK for over 40 years since Reuben Smeed chaired a committee charged with studying the technical feasibility of ‘improving the pricing system relating to the use of roads, and on relevant economic considerations’ (Ministry of Transport, 1964). But successive governments have decided that it was not a policy for their time. It was put back on the agenda in 1997, by the new Blair government, in the form of local congestion charging, and was adopted by Ken Livingstone as a central element of his manifesto for the 2000 London mayoral election. But, having rejected him as the official Labour candidate, the government distanced itself from the principle. However, with the success of Livingstone’s London Congestion Charging Scheme (LCCS), and a realisation that the government’s bold claim in its 2000 Ten Year Transport Plan that it would reduce congestion by 2010 was not going to be achieved, charging returned to the government agenda, with the commissioning of a road pricing feasibility study (DfT, 2004a). Although the brief was a national scheme, the government made it clear that it did not intend to introduce charging on its roads – the national motorway and trunk road network – for several years, although it wanted local authorities to introduce charging schemes. This chapter is intended to provide an analysis and assessment of the prospects for the introduction of road user charging in the UK. 2 ROAD PRICING: SMEED TO LIVINGSTONE...

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