Implications for the United States
Edited by Harry W. Richardson and Chang-Hee Christine Bae
Chapter 9: The Big Smoke: Congestion Charging and the Environment
David Banister 1 INTRODUCTION Like most other large cities around the world, London experiences high levels of air pollution. This is not a new phenomenon. London has long been popularly referred to as the ‘Big Smoke’. (Mayor of London, 2002) Most of the debate over congestion charging in London has been focused on the reductions in traﬃc and the savings in travel time, with little attention being paid to the environmental issues. One of the main beneﬁts from the congestion charging scheme has been the improvements in air quality, reductions in noise and accidents in the central area. The reductions in the amount of traﬃc, particularly in central London, have been one of the main aims of the mayor’s Transport Strategy (GLA, 2001). This is seen as the best means to reduce environmental pollution, the use of carbon-based fuels and to improve air quality by tackling the problem at source. This has been part of the rationale behind the heavy investment in the public transport network, congestion charging and the use of appropriate planning and other demand management methods to facilitate such a change. In addition to promoting behavioural change, there is also pressure to improve the quality of the vehicle ﬂeet operating in London to reduce emissions and fuel use through technological innovation. Traditionally, London has had a very diﬀerent pattern of travel and modal shares from other parts of Great Britain (Table 9.1). Londoners travel less than the average Briton (about 80 per cent...
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