Congestion charging, Stockholm
Topic of the practice
urban freight policies
Good Practice Information
After one year of test and a referendum, Stockholm adopted in August 2007 the implementation of a congestion charging scheme. It was the second European city to test such a large scale payment system intended to reduce congestion and improve the traffic environment. This system aims at reducing global automotive traffic, with heavy good vehicles also included in the scheme. Unfortunately, to our knowledge, no specific assessment of the scheme impact on freight traffic has been made. The primary objectives were to reduce congestion, increase accessibility and improve the environment.
The secondary (more specific) objectives were to: reduce traffic to and from the city by 10-15% during rush hour, increase level service in Stockholm city traffic, reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide, nitric oxide and particulate matters. Actors: The City of Stockholm (started the project '03), the Swedish Road Administration (SRA) (took over in July '04 (By the constitutional law, a local municipality is not allowed
to charge anyone else but their own citizens) (the city kept the responsibility for the general information and the huge evaluation program); The Swedish national government that wrote the legislation and payed for the trial including extended public transport service, IBM who made the system. Resources: 18 control points, 164 cameras, 159 laser detectors, 62 MLC (Multi-Lane Controller) units, 78 traffic lanes.
The test cost about 2 billion SEK (200 M€). A huge number of IBM experts and IT-staff. Call centre began with 400 people (today they are under 100). In Stockholm about 10 people work for the scheme, and a smal call centre for FAQ at the SRA employs 30–50 people. Critical success factors: A strong political will at the national level was necessary. Furthermore, once the congestion charge is implemented, enforcement constitutes a determining factor of success. No particular constraints in the transferability of this project if critical success factors are taken into account.
Evidence of success
Motor traffic decreased more than expected; access improved; traffic reduction led to less environmental impact and better health as well as increased road safety. Difficult to determine if Stockholmers experienced improved city environment. The tot. traffic vol. declined by 28% in '06 compared with '04 during the period when the congestion tax applied. Light goods vehicles reduced by 22%. Heavy goods traffic declined by 10%. Emissions of particles and NOx from road traffic in inner city estimated to have fallen by 8% - 12%. Greenhouse gasses such as CO2 fallen by 40 % in the inner-city and by 2-3% percent in Stockholm County. Today there are 20% less traffic in and out from the inner city during peak hours, 10-14% less emissions and 30% less travelling times. Both the general public and the business community became more positive to the charges and to the test as residents saw the benefits.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Gunnar Söderholm, director
Stockholm Environment and Health Administration
Annex completed on: 03-10-2011