Charging people to drive can help manage demand for limited road space and tackle pollution. This report examines how London could utilise the latest technology to create a simpler, smarter and fairer approach to road user charging.
The next generation of road user charging
London has always been at the forefront of transport innovation – it created an ambitious Congestion Charge scheme and this year introduced the Ultra Low Emission Zone – one of the most radical environmental interventions of its kind in the world.
This report argues that London should continue to lead the way in making the most of new technology and start to develop a simpler, smarter and fairer system of road user charging in the capital.
The report sets out proposals for a new scheme, one which would charge drivers on a per-mile basis based on:
- Distanced travelled
- Vehicle emissions
- Local levels of congestion and pollution, and
- Availability of public transport alternatives.
The report argues that such scheme would reflect the true impact of individual vehicle journeys.
The scheme would be integrated with London’s wider transport system and be accessible via an app and digital platform. This would allow Londoners to compare, plan and pay for all journeys in one place. Ultimately it would encourage drivers to leave their cars at home when possible, by providing them with alternative travel options.
The report highlights why the current system – including the Congestion Charge and ULEZ, will need updating; by 2025, London could have five separate charging schemes, with different vehicle standards, hours of operation, charge amounts and payment arrangements. This will create a confusing system for drivers to navigate.
The Mayor of London and Transport for London should develop options for a new distance-based road user charging scheme, with a view to introducing the first version by the end of the 2020-2024 Mayoral term.