Implementing road user charging : the lessons learnt from Hong Kong, Cambridge and Central London

2009-03-13T09:38:52Z (GMT) by Stephen G. Ison Tom Rye
Road user charging has long been advocated as a means of dealing with congestion in urban areas. Numerous schemes have been proposed but have advanced little beyond the drawing board. This paper draws on the experiences of two such road user charging schemes, namely Electronic Road Pricing in Hong Kong, China, and Congestion Metering in the city of Cambridge, UK, and it seeks to make comparisons with the way implementation of congestion charging in Central London, UK, has been undertaken. What lessons can be learnt from the three examples that would aid authorities considering such a course of action? Certain issues have contributed to the two schemes not being implemented, such as the level of congestion not being severe enough, the clarity of objectives, invasion of road user’s privacy, and timing and presentation. The paper seeks to compare and contrast the issues resulting in the schemes not being implemented with those of the successfully implemented scheme. The conclusion is that it is not possible to attribute the successful implementation of congestion charging to one issue alone. The role of a policy champion, public support given the severity of congestion, a single implementing agency, an understanding of the scheme’s objectives, and timing and clear presentation have all been important factors.