Worth reading: a New York Timesop-ed by London mayor Ken Livingstone on congestion pricing, one of our favorite topics.
As you may recall, in 2003 London started charging drivers a fee to enter the most congested part of the center city. The early results: congestion fell by 20 percent, climate-warming vehicle emissions fell by 15 percent, and 70,000 fewer cars per day entered the congested center city. Since then, the fee has been upped to £8 (about $16 US at today’s exchange rates). But apparently, there’s been little political backlash. In fact…
Before the [London] program began, polls showed that public opinion was divided almost exactly evenly. Since then, opinion has shifted to 2-to-1 in favor.
That’s right: the more experience people had with congestion pricing, the more they liked it!
Find this article interesting? Support more research like this with a gift!
According to Livingstone, one of the keys to the London’s program’s success is that toll revenues have been used to improve transit service—so that people who can’t afford (or don’t want to pay) the congestion charges have an alternative. That makes sense to me.
Of course, it doesn’t seem to make sense to people who want to build more roads. In fact, from a casual internet search it looks like that’s what happened in Stockhom, Sweden, which instituted a trial congestion charging system a few years ago. Stockholm residents supported the charges, and wanted to reinvest revenues in transit. But suburban residents balked. The end result, at this point, seems to be a tie: congestion pricing will go forward, but revenues will be used to “expand the motorway system of the Stockholm County [sic].” I guess suburban voters needed something to Sweden, er, sweeten the pot.
The suburbans didn’t really balk, it was just the suburbs controlled by the right wing which got to vote in referendums, and they all voted no. The left wing suburbs did not get to vote. The right wing parties opposed the congestion charge in opposition but embraced it after they won the fall 2006 election.The municipality of Stockholm was the only jurisdiction which had any real say, and they voted yes. Other municipalities can’t vote to drive their cars for free in someone else’s municipality, that’s silly. That’s as if Toronto votes to pave over Montreal so they can park their cars there. It’s dumb.Secondly Stockholm has an extensive network of commuter trains and suburban trams. A lot of money is going into extending these networks, so suburbans are gaining substantially from this. Most of them can get to work without a car, and their children enjoy freedom of movement.Here’s a pdf map of the trains, trams and metro.http://sl.se/ficktid/karta%2Fvinter/SL_Spartrafik_2007_web.pdfHere's a non-pdf map.http://www.urbanrail.net/eu/sto/stockhlm.htm