Road Congestion Pricing in Europe
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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.
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Chapter 9: The Big Smoke: Congestion Charging and the Environment

David Banister


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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