Friday, February 29, 2008

London's congestion charges performing as designed

London's congestion charges -- fees charged to motorists who drive in the congested business district -- have done exactly what they are supposed to do.

Vehicle traffic is down.

As side benefits, pollution and mortality are down a bit, too, according to Bloomberg, citing a new study.

Overall levels of nitrogen dioxide dropped by 0.10 micrograms a cubic meter of air, the scientists estimated. Levels fell by 0.73 micrograms a cubic meter in zones where the fee is charged, compared with 0.07 micrograms a cubic meter in areas where it is not. The zone designated the city's most-deprived saw a drop of 0.24 micrograms a cubic meter compared with a drop of 0.02 in the least-deprived parts of town.

There was a less-pronounced decline in levels of fine particles, likely because there are other significant sources of the pollutant, the scientists said. Overall concentrations fell by 0.03 micrograms a cubic meter. The most-deprived area benefited from a reduction of 0.08 micrograms a cubic meter.

Air pollution has been linked to heart disease, cancer, allergies, asthma as well as impaired lung development in children.

New York is considering congestion pricing. Could it work in Wisconsin?

1 comment:

Jeramey said...

I don't know that I ever see congestion pricing happening in Wisconsin because of the sheer cost of the system (not enough users), but I do see variable rate tolling being an option.

Have tolling start at really low amounts, and as more users enter the roads (think Memorial Day weekend with all the Illinois residents in the state) having a supply demand charge allow the state to recover the costs of the increased road usage.