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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 7: Design Tools for Road Pricing Cordons

Anthony D. May, S.P. Shepherd, A. Sumalee and A. Koh

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


Anthony D. May, S.P. Shepherd, A. Sumalee and A. Koh 1 INTRODUCTION In Europe and Asia, most proposals for urban road pricing involve the use of cordon or area charging, in which one or more boundaries are drawn, with charges to cross the boundary (using cordon schemes as in Singapore and Stockholm) or to drive within it (using area schemes as in London). Despite over 40 years of research into such schemes, there is little technical advice on where best to place such boundaries. Most designs are based on a mix of professional and political judgement, with little or no assessment of whether alternative locations would be more effective. In practice, the performance of any road pricing cordon or boundary will be affected by the combined effects of a reduction in traffic entering the area and an increase in traffic bypassing it. While congestion will be reduced within the area, it might well be aggravated outside it. Since these conflicting impacts will depend on both the topology of the road network and the pattern of demand for its use, it is difficult to offer general advice on cordon location. All that is known is that the benefits of road pricing, usually measured in terms of welfare economic impacts, are critically dependent on the choice of cordon (May et al., 2002). Section 2 briefly reviews this evidence and our understanding of the approaches which professionals adopt to cordon design. We then...

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