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Edinburgh's congestion charging plans: an analysis of reasons for non-implementation

journal contribution
posted on 24.03.2009, 14:23 authored by Tom Rye, Martin Gaunt, Stephen G. Ison
The City of Edinburgh in Scotland in the UK had advanced plans for a congestion charging scheme until 25 February 2005. However, these plans were abandoned at that time after a referendum that resulted in a 'no vote'. This paper explains the origins of the scheme, outlines its nature, extent, charging technology and predicted effect; it also analyses the difficulties that exist when attempting to plan and implement such a scheme in a particular governance context, and when there is little unanimity of public opinion about the need for a scheme. As well as the primary documentation from the proposals (e.g. public inquiry submissions, papers to government), the paper also draws upon a series of face-to-face interviews that were undertaken with key stakeholders. It also provides an analysis of press coverage in the local (Edinburgh) and national (Scottish) newspapers in the run-up to the referendum. These sources explain both the systemic and more local barriers to the scheme's implementation. The paper draws key lessons which are important for authorities considering the implementation of a road user charging scheme, by suggesting how legislative and governance barriers to implementation can be reduced. The lessons are of relevance world wide.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


RYE, T., GAUNT, M. and ISON, S.G., 2008. Edinburgh's congestion charging plans: an analysis of reasons for non-implementation. Transportation Planning and Technology, 31 (6), pp. 641-661


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