Urban congestion charging : road pricing as a traffic reduction measure
Urban traffic congestion is recognised as a major problem by most people in world cities. However, the implementation of congestion reducing measures on a wide scale eludes most world cities suffering from traffic congestion, as many oppose the notion of road pricing and despite economists and transportation professionals having advocated its benefits for a number of decades. The effects of road pricing have attracted considerable attention from researchers examining its effects, as it is thought to hold the key in understanding and overcoming some inherent obstacles to implementation. Unfortunately, many of the attempts consider the effects in isolation and with hypothetical, idealised and analytical tools, sometimes loosing sight of the complexities of the problem. This research empirically investigates the effects of road pricing in London, and identifies factors, which may prove to sustain it as a traffic reduction instrument. The results indicate that an integrated approach has to be developed and implemented, based upon the recognition of local perceptions, concerns, aspirations and locally acceptable solutions, if the acceptance of road pricing is to be improved. The key to dealing with the effects of road pricing, is to encourage a concerted effort by various stakeholders developing strategies considering a range of differing initiatives, coordinating and managing them in the realm of the political-economic context in which they exist.