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 11: Transferring London Congestion Charging to US Cities: How Might the Likelihood of Successful Transfer be Increased?

Shin Lee


Shin Lee 1 INTRODUCTION The London Congestion Charging Scheme (LCCS) has largely been celebrated as a success. It has prompted numerous cities in and outside of Britain to consider implementing congestion charging. In what sense is it a success? The official review on the scheme’s performance for the first two years reported a 30 per cent reduction in congestion, a 15 per cent reduction in traffic circulating in the zone (60,000 fewer car movements), and a 60 per cent decrease in bus operation disruption caused by traffic delays, among other positive figures (TfL, 2005). However, some Londoners – for example, those who had to transfer from car to bus and some retailers – are less happy, as occasional newspaper articles suggest. About a year after its introduction, research at Imperial College London suggested that congestion charging has had a significant effect on the sales in a major retail establishment studied (Local Transport Today, 2004). Prud’homme and Bocarejo (2005) claimed that the scheme was an economic loss, if a political success. Peak-hour congestion in the charge zone, measured in terms of excess travel time per kilometre beyond what is expected during uncongested hours, was 1.8 minutes per km in 2005 – still down from the pre-charge equivalent of 2.3 minutes but slightly up from the immediate post-charge level of 1.6 minutes (TfL, 2006). This offered the opponents of the scheme a ground for instant criticism, albeit seemingly short-lived. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that London’s ‘success’ has...

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