To combat congestion or generate new revenue, road pricing projects have been implemented in several countries outside the United States, including Germany, Singapore, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. A scan team from the United States traveled to Europe and Asia to meet with transportation officials involved in implementation of road pricing programs and to learn firsthand about their approaches and practices. The scan tour was sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NHCRP). The 10 members of the multidisciplinary scan team included transportation professionals from four State departments of transportation (DOT), one regional transportation agency, FHWA, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and private industry. Based on observations made by the scan team, key project elements and benefits realized in the form of increased mobility and reduced emissions are reported below.
In January 2006, Stockholm began a full-scale, seven month trial for urban cordon pricing that used automated number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to charge drivers for entering and exiting the cordon area. After passing a referendum after the trial was completed, the system reopened in August 2007. In addition to the implementation of a congestion tax, a 10 percent expansion of the public transit system was implemented, which included 200 articulated buses (equivalent to 10,000 new seats), 2,400 new park-and-ride spaces, transit signal priority, improved rail service, dedicated bus lanes and twelve new express bus routes.
- Despite the additional transit service being ready five months prior to the congestion tax, the 20 percent reduction in traffic congestion was not realized until the congestion tax system was turned on.
- Transit ridership grew by six to nine percent during the trial period, resulting in a 14 percent reduction in vehicle miles traveled and a 10 to 14 percent decrease in emissions.
- Half of the operations and maintenance costs for the new bus service were covered by fares and the other half by the congestion taxes.
- At the end of the trial, but before its reintroduction in August 2007, the congestion returned to pre-trial levels, but after the reintroduction, a 20 percent reduction in congestion was realized.
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