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O N E S T E P F O RWA R D , T W O S T E P S B A C K ? 81 Seoul, after several decades of rapid growth in car usage, tation of road pricing in the center of the city. TMG set up the Seoul metropolitan government (SMG) has taken a committee to examine the possible implementation of several measures to reduce congestion in the inner city the road pricing scheme. In 2001 the committee produced and increase the mode share of public transport. Since a report that proposes four different charging cordon 1993 the government has been investigating different designs. In early 2001 an electronic toll collection system traffic demand management techniques through various was introduced in the Tokyo area; it was expanded to fiscal tools including congestion charging. In 1996 SMG cover more than 600 existing toll points and went nation- implemented congestion tolls (around $2.20 for both wide in November 2001. The initial purpose of this elec- directions) on two main tunnels linking the downtown tronic toll system was for financing, but the emerging area to the southern part of the city (Hwang et al. 1999). policy in Japan is to price roads differentially to reflect The objectives of this implementation are threefold: to congestion and environmental impacts. Currently, experi- reduce the incidence of low-occupancy vehicles, to raise ments for congestion and environmental charging are revenues for transport-related projects, and to assess the being conducted in various locations. effectiveness of the pricing technique. Private cars with three or more passengers are exempted from the tolls. Traffic volume decreased by 20% in the first 2 years after Elsewhere the operation. Average traffic speed increased by 10 kilo- meters per hour. A proposal for expanding the current There are a few road pricing proposals elsewhere in the congestion charging system in Seoul has been developed world, and most of them are using road pricing as an that is based on point charging. However, this expansion infrastructure financing tool rather than as a congestion of congestion charging has not been implemented to date charging measure. In Australia, several high-technology because of political concerns. tolling systems are in place: a series of tolled motorways, After the success of the ALS implementation in Sin- bridges, and tunnels in Sydney; City Link in Melbourne; gapore, in the 1970s the World Bank funded studies of and Gateway Bridge/motorway and Logan motorway in the feasibility of implementing a similar scheme in Brisbane. The interesting issue for Australia is the Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and Bangkok (Thailand). national policy to allow a customer of one toll road oper- Although the studies strongly supported the implemen- ator to be able to use other toll road systems "seamlessly." tation of the schemes in both cities, initial setbacks have In the recent AusLink Green Paper, the possibility of mov- delayed implementation. In Kuala Lumpur, gantries ing the existing toll financing scheme to a congestion were already installed at various points around the charging scheme is mentioned (Department of Transport charging zone boundary. However, the operation of the and Regional Services 2002). A road user charging sys- ALS was ultimately deferred by the government. The tem for HGVs based on variable weight and distance (a reasons given were that the city needed to improve pub- massdistance regime) was also referred to as an alterna- lic transport and complete the inner ring road as an tive. In New Zealand, the paper-based road user charges alternative for through traffic first (Armstrong-Wright for HGVs, introduced in 1977, is a weightdistance tax 1986). In addition, it was claimed that the success of relying on vehicle distance measurement devices. The pur- other road improvements at that time was able to pose of this system is to recover road costs from heavy reduce the congestion problem sufficiently in the cen- vehicles. In 2002 the government announced its intent to tral area. Interestingly, the same political decision mak- introduce an electronic road user charging system to ers both approved the initial plan and deferred it later. increase fairness and efficiency of the charging system to In Bangkok, the proposal for the implementation of vehicle operators. Migration from the paper-based sys- ALS was immediately rejected by the government tem to the new electronic system will be voluntary. Cur- because of political concerns. On the one hand, there rently, a feasibility study is being carried out to investigate has been no implementation of any form of congestion the business case and functionality design. There have charging systems in these cities to date. On the other been road pricing proposals in South America. There was hand, Thailand, Malaysia, and other countries in the an early feasibility study of implementing road pricing in region (including the Philippines, China, and Taiwan) Caracas, Venezuela. More recently, the city of Santiago, have been progressive in using road pricing as a means Chile, has outlined a plan to implement an urban road to finance road infrastructure projects. There are vari- pricing scheme. ous road toll projects both in urban and interurban contexts in these countries (with the sole objective of financing road construction). IMPLICATIONS In Japan, the Tokyo metropolitan government (TMG) developed the Transport Demand Management Tokyo As noted earlier, three approaches have been developed Action Plan in 2000. The plan envisages future implemen- outside North America.