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BITRE | Working paper 74

Figure 5.1 Principal parameters in congestion charging schemes

Congestion scheme parameters

Charging

modulation

Enforcement

Single

road

Coverage

Facility Cordon Concentric Area

cordon

Network

of

roads

– Level of charge

– Variability/number of

charges relative to

time/congestion

– Coverage of charges

(which hours/days)

– Exemptions

(taxis, buses, etc.)

– Technology used

(number plate recognition

overhead gantries, etc.)

– Cost of enforcement

Probability of

‘being caught’

– Expected cost

of non-compliance

– Concessions

(residents)

Level of fine

– Variability of charges

by vehicle type (heavy

vehicle, vehicle

emission, etc.)

– Qualification for

attracting charge

(moving, stationary)

The key to achieving such an outcome hinges on the relationship between the

behavioural change of road users and the cost of the scheme established to achieve

it. The behavioural change will clearly be influenced by the level and structure of the

charges. However, it will vary between

Scheme costs and behavioural change

are pivotal to congestion charging

success.

locations, at different times of day and

between different road users. Hence,

no simple rule can be adopted.

All this means is that setting the charges

can be complex, particularly when there

is considerable scope to get the charges wrong. There is no guarantee that a charging

system would cost less to implement than the efficiency gains it produces. In such

a situation, the charging system would miss its target and so worsen community

welfare.

Scheme frameworks are a fundamental determinant of congestion charges. The key

parameters of charging systems are illustrated in Figure 5.1.

A key part of the framework is the type of physical road coverage of the scheme. Its

simplest application is to a single road—a ‘facility’ charge. At the other end of the

spectrum, there is the area charging scheme. Congestion charging on State Route 91

in Orange County, California is an example of a facility charge; Stockholm’s scheme is

an example of a cordon scheme, the charging proposal for Manchester is an example

of a concentric cordon and London’s scheme is the only substantive example of areacharging.

The primary examples of these schemes are listed in Figure 5.1.

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