Monday, January 14, 2013

How do Higher Congestion Charges at Traffic Peaks Reduce Pollution?

The control point at Liljeholmen, Stockholm.
The control point at Liljeholmen, Stockholm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Also discussed here: Variable congestion charges may yield more stable air quality and improved health(University of Gothenburg, Dec. 14, 2012) 

And here: Synergies and Trade-offs between Climate and Local Air Pollution: Policies in Sweden(Jorge Bonilla, Jessica Coria, Thomas Sterner, Working Paper in Economics #529, Goteborg University, Apr. 30, 2012) 

Today we review a report from Goteborg, the second Swedish city to implement congestion charging, that examines the impact of these charges on pollution levels by time of day and time of year. It found that pollution was worse in the morning and in the spring. This provides a good basis for having charges that change according to the resulting level of pollution, not necessarily to traffic volume which is usually the linkage made for dynamic charging. 

Key Quotes: “Higher congestion charges in the morning and in the spring would even out the negative health effects caused by air pollution from cars in large cities.” “Our analysis indicates that despite traffic flows being larger in the afternoon, NOx and NO2 pollution in the morning peak is larger than in the peak in the afternoon” “base their conclusion on observations of the levels of nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and carbon monoxide in Stockholm, London and Santiago” “If the congestion charges are allowed to vary with the capacity of nature to handle pollution, then they may reduce not only global warming but also the dangerous health effects of urban air pollutants” “If people would choose to drive at different times than today, the levels of pollution would be evened out, which in turn would have positive health effects”
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