Thursday, May 24, 2012

The impact of London's congestion pricing - A public policy success

In February 2003, London introduced congestion pricing to control vehicular traffic in its central areas between 7 AM and 6 PM. It is currently £10 or $16.22 and this revenue (it generated $240 mn in 2009) is plowed into the city’s transit system. As the graphics below show, congestion pricing has had a remarkable impact on traffic patterns in the area and should count as a genuine transport policy success story.

The graphic shows that the central parts of the city, filled with blue bubbles, has experienced a significant drop in vehicular traffic. Given the passage of time and the general growth rate in traffic flows, the real drop would be even greater.

This has been accompanied by a remarkable increase in public transit use. Bus ridership has grown 60% over the past decade in London.

The fall in vehicular use has also been accompanied by a spectacular increase in bicycle usage. It is up 110% in London since 2000. As the graphic shows, most of that has been in the central parts of the city.  In the country as a whole, cycling on the road has increased 12% during this period.

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