Solving Cities

Should cities charge motorists to drive in congested areas?

Should cities charge motorists to drive in congested areas?

Posting in Cities

Some cities are charging motorists to drive in the busiest parts of the city during peak hours. Is it a tool that more cities should adopt?

Space is a precious commodity in cities.

To reduce traffic and congestion in highly used spaces during peak hours, some cities are putting a price on driving in certain parts of the city. Known as congestion pricing, cameras are set up at the entrance of these zones and motorists pay a daily fee for driving in these typically congested zones.

A new video from Streetfilms takes a look at how it works and how London has fared since implementing congestion pricing.

Here are the highlights:

  • London has reduced traffic in the zone by about 20 percent, which means about 9,000 few vehicles in that zone every day.
  • In 2008-2009 the city generated about 150 million pounds from congestion pricing. That money went into a fund to pay for upgrades for other modes of transportation.
  • 70 percent of people who were affected by the congestion pricing switched to another mode of transportation.

"The people that are in their cars are moving faster and the people that are in the subways are getting some kind of revenue stream that assists them in getting to their destinations faster," Sam Schwartz, a transportation engineer from New York City, told Streetfilms.

"Any world city that wants to compete in the 21st and is thinking about the 22nd century needs to think about congestion pricing," he said.

Watch the video:

What do you think? Is congestion pricing an important tool for a city of the future?

Photo: BIT-101/Flickr

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Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure