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Foreword

Our road networks are vital conduits, facilitating productivity growth and empowering

society to enjoy increasingly diverse and fulfilling lifestyles. But, with strong economic

and population growth, cities are finding it increasingly difficult to ensure that road

capacity keeps pace with traffic levels. As a result, road congestion is a major problem

in many urban areas—one that is projected to get considerably worse.

Congestion charging is gaining favour internationally as an option for dealing

directly with rising congestion costs. While there has been a number of successful

congestion charging schemes around the world, it was the introduction of the

London scheme in 2003 that focussed the world’s attention on congestion charging

as a traffic management option.

Transport is not alone in utilising advances in technology to enable direct time-of-use

charging for community resources: water and electricity charges, for example, are

increasingly reflecting fluctuations in supply and demand. However, with congestion

charging for transport there is also the twin attraction of revenue generation and

environmental gains.

This report reviews the case for congestion charging and provides a policy framework

for assessing charging systems. At this time, congestion charging schemes are still

in their infancy and evolving in concert with changing policy priorities and system

technologies. While individual circumstances determine when and where congestion

charging is in the interest of the wider community, some important general lessons

can be drawn.

The authors are grateful to those who have assisted in the development of this

report. In particular, David Starkie provided constructive comments, in his role as

an independent reviewer of the draft report. Mark Harvey contributed Appendix A

and Quentin Reynolds provided valuable insights. David Mitchell assisted in the

final stages of preparation of the report. The authors, Lyn Martin and Peter Kain, also

recognise the generous contributions of their colleagues.

The report has been prepared under the guidance of Phil Potterton.

Phil Potterton

Executive Director

Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics

October 2008

iii

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