CON­GES­TION CHARG­ING

Element - - Transport -

Con­ges­tion charg­ing – touted re­cently by Mayor Len Brown as a pos­si­ble so­lu­tion to our traf­fic woes – has been suc­cess­fully im­ple­mented in many cities around the world. Launched in February 2003, Lon­don’s scheme is one of the largest glob­ally. A low emis­sion zone was also im­ple­mented in February 2008 to iden­tify high-pol­lut­ing com­mer­cial fleet ve­hi­cles. Siemens, which works with Trans­port for Lon­don to develop the traf­fic mon­i­tor­ing equip­ment, re­ports that over five years this has re­sulted in 21 per cent less four-wheeled traf­fic in the in­ner-city charg­ing zone – and cut air pol­lu­tion by 30 per cent. All net rev­enue (£148 mil­lion in 2009-10) is chan­nelled into fur­ther im­prov­ing trans­port in the English cap­i­tal. IBM de­signed a sim­i­lar road-charge sys­tem for Stockholm with laser, cam­era and sys­tems tech­nol­ogy that au­to­mat­i­cally iden­ti­fies and charges vary­ing rates de­pend­ing on the time of day. After its trial, the tech com­pany re­ports traf­fic was down 25 per­cent over­all, and pub­lic trans­port sched­ules were re­vamped to deal with lower con­ges­tion. In­ner-city re­tail­ers ex­pe­ri­enced a six per cent jump in busi­ness. The scheme was for­mally adopted in 2007.

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