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A Closer Look at the Real World Derek Turner, Derek Turner Consulting Stephen Ison, Loughborough University, United Kingdom MANAGING THE STREETS OF LONDON Strict enforcement and a thorough monitoring strategy have enabled a successful launch and efficient ongoing Derek Turner performance. The world's largest congestion scheme has prompted favorable comments, such as the following The use of congestion charging as an effective tool for the by Susan Kramer, a board member of Transport for Lon- management of urban traffic flows has been demonstrated don and a previous mayoral candidate: "We always by the ground-breaking scheme introduced in London in thought we had to live with congestion in our city February 2003. Many world cities that have already centers. London has shown this is no longer true." implemented new interurban toll routes are considering Results after 6 months of performance have shown a such a congestion charge as a method of extending road multitude of improvements for London's transport: a user charging to an existing urban road environment. 25% decrease in time spent stationary; a 30% reduction Congestion charging is particularly relevant to the city's in traffic delays; and a 14% reduction in journey times environment because, correctly managed, it initiates a self- to, from, and across the charging zone. Reduction in perpetuating cycle that encourages a shift from private to inbound traffic flow has been most evident in peak peri- public transport within the charging zone. ods, with weekday speeds in and around the zone This method of charging is not a tax; rather, the increased by 10% to 20%. charges are part of an integrated approach that incor- London's buses have seen a 33% decrease in excess porates improvements in public transport and highway waiting times for bus routes serving the congestion facilities. The reduction in traffic allows buses to move charge zone. Bus delays due to traffic disruption have more freely, and the significant portion of net revenue been halved both inside the zone and on the ring road spent on buses provides increased capacity and fre- that forms the zone boundary but does not incur a quency of service. The enhanced service is vital to ensure charge. that former car users remain loyal to public transport in A reduction in road accidents has also been mea- the long term. sured, though a longer period is required to determine The central London congestion charge scheme its significance. The net revenues (i.e., revenues after requires purchase of a virtual area license to drive within deduction of operating and enforcement costs and debt a 21-square-kilometer area of inner London. Cameras payments) of the scheme are expected to be 68 million linked to automatic number plate technology capture for 20032004 and are expected to rise to between 80 vehicle registration plates on entry into the zone and million and 100 million in future years. The annual net store details in a database until matched to a payment. benefits, exclusive of these revenues, are forecast to be The payment is applicable during weekdays from 7 a.m. 50 million. They include considerations such as time to 6:30 p.m. savings, fuel savings, and reliability benefits. 42