Many a city developer and environmental authority followed along in rapt attention when the Swedish city of Stockholm joined London (2003) in one of the pioneers of a new, stringent effort to reduce traffic in urban centers and undertook in 2006 a trial of a congestion pricing scheme which saw commuters charged €2 for all vehicles entering and entering the city at peak hours, dropping a slow at €1 at off-peak hours. Once the trial was passed into lasting practice in 2007, many began to wonder what the true lasting impact would be. The success of this system was confirmed in a 2012 study by Swedish researchers published in the journal Science Direct. With published evidence of the scheme’s success, many began to consider the model for their own cities.

This system was followed by subsequent efforts in such major international cities as Singapore, Milan, and even Gothenburg in Sweden, which began a similar program in 2013 that gained increasing public approval, as well as resulting in environmental benefit. Following this wave of new congestion pricing schemes, the City of London sought to increase the efficiency of its system in 2017 by increasing the charges for the most polluting vehicles, charging an additional £10 on top of the existing £11.50, with Mayor Sadiq Khan citing a health crisis in the city. This saw a redoubled effort among British cities to reduce congestion and instate similar pricing schemes.

Now this progression has reached one of the world’s most heavily congested cities in the world, as a new proposal, presented as part of the Fix NYC task force, would see the city finally enforce a long sought-after measure to curb its traffic woes. The proposal is careful to note that congestion and traffic are not reduced by solely introducing such charges, but the public transit system must be improved in step with these changes to ensure that the commuting population has an alternative.

An overview of the Stockholm system’s history

Read for an update on Stockholm’s successful congestion charge

Read about Gothenburg’s scheme

The BBC covered London’s renewed efforts in 2017

New York proposes a new congestion pricing scheme

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