Traffic Taking Its Toll

Charging drivers to enter downtown London has significantly reduced traffic congestion, and the system may be expanded.
October 30, 2003, 12pm PST | David Gest
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"London's pioneering congestion charge has reduced the number of traffic jams by a third in its first six months and is likely to lead to a massive expansion of the government's road pricing policy...Under the schemes, drivers may be charged to use key roads or certain stretches of congested roads in return for the scrapping of road tax or the lowering of fuel duty." The first official study of the program "suggest[s] that 50,000 fewer cars are entering the charging zone a day, a reduction of 16%. Most drivers have switched to public transport or divert around the zone." However, "[t]he income from congestion charging has been lower than initially expected," and some believe that inner city businesses are adversely affected by the scheme. In any case, London's mayor plans to run his re-election campaign on a platform to expand the system – perhaps even to a national level.

Thanks to David Gest

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Published on Friday, October 24, 2003 in The Guardian Unlimited
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