There is no one silver bullet to solving London’s transport challenges. But there is agreement among some experts – including the Mayor himself – that we need to review the future of road user charging in London. This project examined the role it can play in managing demands on finite road space, addressing congestion and pollution, and creating a more liveable city.
The existing Congestion Charge is not fit for purpose; it has failed to keep up with changing travel patterns and the technologies it relies on are increasingly out-of-date. Meanwhile, the introduction of much needed environmental schemes – such as the Ultra-Low Emission Zone – are set to add another layer of complexity for road users to navigate.
The Mayor’s Transport Strategy recognises that a more sophisticated road user charging system is badly needed. New technology enables us to create a much fairer system, which takes into consideration a range of environmental, economic and other factors, to reflect the true impact of individual journeys and drive behaviour change. But little thought has been given to the practicalities of how such a system would work in the capital. This research project aimed to fill that gap.
Centre for London worked with transport and environment experts, economists and a range of stakeholders to develop practical proposals for the new generation of road user charging. The research negotiated a range of difficult questions, including:
- Technical feasibility;
- Political acceptability;
- Integration with the rest of the UK.