Friday, January 6, 2012

Air pollution and congestion charges in London, England

Until 18 February 2007 the congestion charge a...Image via WikipediaPay as you go: managing traffic impacts in a world-class city (55 page pdf, John Whitelegg, Eco-Logica Ltd, Lancaster, Dec. 2, 2011)

Also discussed here: Whitelegg proposes radical overhaul and extension of congestion charge in London (World Streets, Dec. 19, 2011)

The report reviewed today looks back at almost a decade of experience with London’s congestion charge system and analyses the reasons for its success as well as its weaknesses. Several interesting points are made including the way that free parking at work offsets the advantages of road pricing, the process of persuasion needed to gain public support and the degree to which trucks and heavy vehicles are the source of road damage and should therefore bear higher congestion fees for road use.

Key Quotes:

“a London-wide road pricing scheme is essential and without it congestion will worsen, air pollution will worsen, the legal consequences of failing to meet air quality standards will grow in severity and fall on the GLA, the health of Londoners will suffer, CO2 reduction targets will be missed”

“Advantages that can be claimed for this include:
  • It reduces traffic levels and this reduction makes a welcome contribution to reducing air pollution, noise and greenhouse gases
  • ..over 4000 deaths in London each year are in part attributable to poor air quality
  • It sends a powerful message to all 7.6 million Londoners that something is being done to bring about an improvement in quality of life and that year-on year increases in traffic are simply not acceptable ..
  • It generates a stream of revenue that is available for investment in public transport, walking and cycling and this supports sustainable transport objectives”
“81% of car commuters into central London park free at work and “market-priced parking should therefore produce even greater reductions in traffic congestion” (than congestion charging)”

“It is supported by:
  • economists who are concerned with economic efficiency, proper working of the market and productivity
  • environmentalists who see traffic noise, air pollution, greenhouse gases from the transport sector and threats to walking and cycling as serious problems that need sorting out
  • those who focus on equity and social justice and want to see policies introduced that benefit women, children, the elderly and those on low incomes.
“The current congestion charge in London has generated total revenue of £2.182 billion and £1.287 billion of this has been spent on operating the system. A new London-wide ERP system has the potential to generate an income of £1-2 billion pa”

“Lorries account for 90% of the damage done to roads…“lorries in general and each class of lorry, should pay in taxation at least the road track costs which they impose…the public costs of accidents should be included in the calculation of road track costs.”

“The widening of a charging area to the whole of London largely eliminates the possibility of re-routeing effects and increases in distances travelled on orbital routes/alternative routes”
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