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WCTRS seminar on Green Urban Transport in China, Shanghai, September 11th to 13th 2010 Policies to reduce car use – lessons from Britain Roger Mackett.

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Presentation on theme: "WCTRS seminar on Green Urban Transport in China, Shanghai, September 11th to 13th 2010 Policies to reduce car use – lessons from Britain Roger Mackett."— Presentation transcript:

1 WCTRS seminar on Green Urban Transport in China, Shanghai, September 11th to 13th 2010 Policies to reduce car use – lessons from Britain Roger Mackett Centre for Transport Studies University College London

2 Distance travelled by cars, vans and taxis in Great Britain Source: Transport Statistics, Great Britain, 2009

3 The benefits and disbenefits of the car Benefits Door-to-door travel Fully flexible timing Relatively low travel times Comfort Mainly direct and affect the individual Disbenefits Use of resources Pollution Climate change Congestion Social inequity Decentralisation of urban areas Mainly indirect and affect society

4 The political difficulty of reducing car use Car drivers in Britain accept the need to pay for their vehicles and insurance They seem to accept paying for vehicle excise duty (annual car tax) and tax on fuel, but do not always accept sudden large changes Government reluctant to be seen as ‘anti-car’ There are other pressures on the government, e.g. compliance with the Kyoto Treaty

5 The Labour Government of 1997 According to John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister in 1998: “I will have failed if in five years time there are not... far fewer journeys by car. It's a tall order but I urge you to hold me to it” The 1998 Transport White Paper focused on ‘integrated transport’, with reductions in car use linked to specific objectives such as health The White Paper said an objective was ‘to reduce road traffic growth’. Proposed: –Charging for road space –Parking levies –Green transport plans

6 Charging for using the road Conceptual basis in the Smeed Report of 1964, based on the ideas of Alan Walters Four schemes tried in Britain: –Durham – implemented, but very small –London – implemented –Edinburgh – not implemented –Manchester – not implemented

7 The London Congestion Charge Started 17 February 2003 Charge of £8 (85 CNY) a day on weekdays Residents of the area receive 90% discount Various exemptions including taxis System uses number-plate recognition cameras, comparing the list of those in the area with a list of those who have paid Western Extension opened on 17 February 2007, but may be removed by the new Mayor

8 Impacts of the scheme Traffic entering the zone reduced by 21% 6% increase in bus passengers £137m (1450m CNY) raised for investment in improving transport in London Congestion now back at pre- charging levels, but TfL says this is due to works to repair utilities and traffic management measures

9 Why could the London Congestion Charge be implemented? Various favourable factors: Public debate about transport associated with 1998 White Paper Public perception of congestion on streets of London New structure of local government in London Research had been carried out

10 Political factors Ken Livingstone included it in his mayoral election manifesto He saw its successful implementation as being in his interests He required it to be implemented in time for the next mayoral election Election focused on personalities Other main candidates not opposed to the scheme Exemptions granted for various groups Major investment in buses before implementation Technical team involved in overcoming political barriers as well as technical ones

11 The Edinburgh Congestion Charging Scheme Two cordons No charge for driving wholly within or between cordons Scheme rejected in a referendum in February 2005 Possible reasons for rejection: –Several layers of government involved in implementation of the scheme –Confusion about the objectives of the scheme –Lack of a strong ‘champion’ –Opposition from the press

12 Two cordon scheme, with charges only in during the peak in the peak direction Pre-pay ‘tag and beacon’ system Rejected in a referendum in December 2008 The Manchester Congestion Charging Scheme

13 Why did congestion charging work in London but not in Edinburgh and Manchester? Simple scheme Strong champion Single layer of government involved Not referred to the public explicitly in a referendum Alliances built with relevant bodies

14 Other possible charging systems Workplace parking levies – no schemes implemented National road charging – –Congestion has increased on the motorway network –Response has been to widen motorways, but these have filled up with traffic –Charging always ‘a scheme for the future’ Toll motorways – one example on the M6, built to relieve congestion

15 Lessons from Britain on reducing car use Most initiatives have focused on reducing congestion rather than reducing car trips It seems to be possible to convince motorists about measures if –they are aware of the problems (e.g. congestion) –they receive something in return (e.g. faster trips) This is more difficult at a national level than an urban one because congestion is more likely to be perceived at a local level and there is often space to widen motorways in rural areas

16 Key points on road charging Ensure car drivers believe they are receiving something in return for the charge Do not ask the public ‘Do you want to pay for something that you currently receive for nothing?’ – They will say ‘No’ Ensure there is strong political support Build alliances with possible opponents Ensure there is a strong champion Keep the scheme simple

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