23 August 2019
Lessons in congestion pricing: four cities lead the way
A recent report published by the US-based advocacy group the National League of Cities (NLC) has investigated the congestion pricing schemes of four major cities around the world to see what others can learn from these efforts. Congestion pricing schemes are becoming increasingly topical among city leaders across the globe as they consider how to tackle rising transport emissions resulting from the over-prevalence of private vehicle traffic. As stated in the NLC report, congestion pricing is “a type of road user charge system in which a flat or variable rate fee is charged to vehicles that drive in a specified area or zone with a city.”
The NLC report “Making Space: Congestion Pricing in Cities” assesses the congestion pricing schemes of London, Stockholm, Singapore, and New York from four perspectives: background, financing, evolution, and lessons learned. The key findings from these four analyses show that a system must be dynamic and responsive to changes in the city as well as the mobility patterns of residents, the system must be clearly communicated to residents and built on a technical system which is easy to operate, and residents must have a clear understanding of the impacts of the system and how the profits from it are used.
These lessons can contribute to the development of a successful congestion pricing scheme which, when deployed together with a strong public transit system, cities can create notable impact, yet the goals and means of operating and monitoring such a system must be well-formed and executed.