Congestion - Articles and news items

Congestion tax enforcement can lead to benefits

Issue 6 2013  •  16 December 2013  •  Emma Hermansson, Project Manager Congestion Tax, Transportstyrelsen

Congestion tax was enforced in Gothenburg on 1 January 2013 and was made in collaboration between the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) and the Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen). With a budget of 950 million SEK the project was a huge challenge. Emma Hermansson from Transportstyrelsen was in charge of the joint project, and in an interview for Eurotransport she explains that the challenge was not only of a technical nature, but also of a personal nature due to the project being debated at length in public.

“I have been involved with the congestion tax system since the days of planning the trial imple mentation in Stockholm during seven months in 2006, but the project in Gothenburg was different,” says Emma.

Emma explains the complexity and differences which could most easily be described as:

● In Stockholm, the complete system was procured as a turnkey, from roadside equipment to creating a tax decision and managing the payments. The responsibility for delivery and coordination between subcontractors in the project lay on one single supplier.

Meeting Sweden’s urban public transport challenge

Issue 3 2013  •  3 July 2013  •  Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd, Minister of Infrastructure, Sweden

Interest in improving people’s ability to opt for public transport has undoubtedly increased in recent years. This is not surprising, given the major challenges that lie ahead of us. The transport sector’s overall challenge is to meet a surge in demand for transport and simultaneously develop long-term sustainable transport systems. We are all aware of the benefits of public transport, especially in cities, in the form of lower emissions, demands on space and increased liveability.

Increasing numbers of Londoners swapping their car for public transport

Industry news  •  22 December 2010  •  Transport for London (TfL)

Transport for London (TfL) reports a 7% shift to public transport, with cycling and walking reducing car journeys by one million every day in London.

The true cost of congestion

Issue 6 2007, Past issues  •  7 December 2007  •  Gareth Elliott, Policy Adviser, British Chambers of Commerce

High quality transport infrastructure is critical to the success of any economy. It is a vital part of the chain that links businesses with customers and suppliers. As a result, economic growth is strongly linked with the quality and length of a country’s transport network. The ability to travel further and faster opens up new markets and increases economic activity. Access to new markets leads to greater competition, which in turn leads to lower prices and therefore, higher incomes. Restricting a country’s ability to connect can only have a negative impact on economic growth.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), a network of 100,000 businesses representing five million employees, has recently undertaken a significant survey on our transport network. Worryingly, it shows that Britain is now being held back by its inadequate transport infrastructure. The BCC has recently released its 2007 Transport Survey in which the cost of the failings of Britain’s transport infrastructure to its businesses has been calculated at £18 billion. Expectations are that this is set to increase over the next 12 months. The UK is more heavily reliant on its road network than other European nations, yet investment over the last decade has failed to keep up with demand. Increases in car ownership have not been met with increases in road capacity which has resulted in crippling congestion. Road journey times rose for the first time in 1972 and continue to increase today. A new study by traffic information service, found that Britain’s cities are amongst the slowest in Europe. In fact, out of the top ten slowest, the UK has six entries with London being the slowest city of all.

The Stockholm experience

Issue 1 2007, Past issues  •  17 February 2007  •  Birger Höök, Project Manager, Swedish Road Administration

A congestion tax system was put into trial operation in the Stockholm inner city area between 3 January and 31 July 2006. The Swedish Road Administration (SRA) was commissioned by the Government for the implementation. An extensive, sophisticated technical system was developed in cooperation with IBM Svenska AB, the head contractor, to be able to manage the daily automatic registration of 500,000 passages and 200,000 tax decisions generated. Birger Höök was appointed project manager.
Sensitive traffic system

Water divides Stockholm. This means that all through-traffic must drive past the city over a few bridges. The present traffic volume on the main thoroughfares often greatly exceeds the capacity for which they were originally built. In other words, the Stockholm traffic system has almost reached its maximum capacity. This means that even a minor traffic incident during rush hour can have major repercussions in the form of heavy congestion and overstrained public transport services. During peak hours it can take up to three times longer than normal to cover a stretch on the city access roads, thoroughfares or inner city bridges.