PDF: 1832 KB - Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional ...


PDF: 1832 KB - Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional ...

Executive summary

The high cost of traffic congestion is of increasing


The continuing rise in incomes and population in urban areas has led to a steady

increase in motorisation. Where network capacity has failed to keep pace, congestion

has become a major issue. Estimated costs of congestion are high and forecast to

increase dramatically in many areas. Further, there is widespread concern that the

potency of established methods for dealing with congestion has diminished. These

dual pressures have fuelled interest in congestion charging.

Momentum is building for congestion charging schemes

Roads have been tolled for centuries. In recent times, particularly on bridged

estuaries, higher tolls apply during peak periods. Also, for more than a decade, tolls

on some US roads have varied with levels of congestion.

Charging for road links and estuarial crossings is technically easier than the cordon

charging approach, adopted in cities such as Singapore and Stockholm, or the areacharging

approach, adopted in London. With cordon charging, the charge relates

to crossing a cordon; with area charging, variable charges are levied over a zone

consisting of a network of roads within a cordon, rather than a single road.

Singapore pioneered cordon charging in 1975, with its paper-based scheme; it was

upgraded for electronic tolling in 1998. However, it was London’s high profile area

congestion charging scheme, introduced to a zone in Central London in 2003, that has

brought congestion charging to the forefront of international policy debate. British

and US cities have been encouraged to consider charging schemes by significant

grants from their national governments.

The twin influences of London’s example and national government’s financial ‘carrots’

have made congestion charging an integral part of established policy thinking.

Point-of-use road charges during periods of heavy congestion have been introduced

to the central parts of other cities, such as Rome, Dubai, Milan and Valletta, and are

under active consideration in many other cities.


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