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Comparison of Implementation on our case studies
The key barriers to the scheme were opposition prior to implementation. This included local authorities and some retailers. Fear of the unknown was perpetuated by the media who considered the idea flawed until Congestion Charging became operational.
It is testament to the strong leadership of the Mayor of London and a dedicated team at TfL that the scheme was launched in 2003 despite a number of barriers.
The following drivers provide a chronological outline of some of the support that TfL consider enabled the introduction of Congestion Charging in London:
Rome decided to implement new clean zones with a complex series of actions, according to the guideline provided by the Urban General Traffic Plan (PGTU). Besides, there are in Rome serious reasons to apply “clean zones”: congestion and environment as well as a strong need to preserve the historical and archaeological city.
Even though the Urban Traffic Plan included such measures, the implementation of electronic access control schemes in Rome had a complicated initial set-up.
The full-scale deployment of the automatic access control systems in Rome was a demanding process which had to overcome a number of issues, ranging from technical ones, to the management issues of such a system, and finally to a variety of bureaucratic and institutional issues.
Rome issued the first request in Italy to implement an Access Control System (ACS) and a Recognition Plate (RP) scheme and the government Bodies examined it carefully, establishing the parameters for its operation. Due to the complexity of the procedures related to the use of such automatic equipment being made operational on large scale for the first time in Italy, the Decrees dictated a pre-implementation period, to be jointly operated with the Urban Police at each gate to endorse the violations.
The London implementation gave support to Rome, which was previously alone within the largest European cities to apply an electronic enforcement system. Support comes also from new restrictive air quality Directives recently approved and obliging further restriction of private cars to comply with them.
An added value of access control schemes is the comprehensive requalification of urban areas obtained with the implementation of the e-gate system. They created the opportunity to limit the space for private cars, giving back areas to pedestrians. Besides, the integration of ACS, RP and clean zones in “Sustainable Mobility” policies can support the matching of the new limits on air quality.
Surveys and continuous contacts with all the stake-holders and definition of the needs of all the social categories are necessary and it is important to integrate this kind of measure in Sustainable Mobility policy with PT integration and introduction of pedestrian areas.
In Sweden, congestion charges are classified as ”tax” rather than ”fee”. However, this legislation was not in place when the implementation process for the trial started. Therefore in the initial process, the division of roles and responsibilities was not formally established and consequently neither the functional requirements of the system depending on whether the charge was a state tax or a local fee.
In 2003 an inquiry into congestion charging found that congestion charges had to be collected as a state tax, as Swedish law says that a charge can only be levied when the payer receives something in return. Due to the fact that the payment only provided the right to use already existing infrastructure, the congestion charge was considered to be a tax. Further, as a municipal authority is not permitted to tax anyone other than its own inhabitants, the congestion tax had to be made a state tax. Congestion charges were initiated by the local municipality, but formal decisions were primarily made by the Parliament.
In 2004, Parliament issued the Congestion Tax Act. As a result, the responsibility for procurement and administration of the congestion tax was transferred from the City to the Road Administration. Several alterations had to be made throughout the process of designing the business system.
The procurement of the technical system was subjected to legal investigation. This basically concerned two issues:
The case was tried by the Stockholm County Administrative Court, the Administrative Court of Appeal and the Supreme Administrative Court during the summer and autumn of 2004 and continued into early 2005. On 30 March 2005 the Supreme Administrative Court decided to discontinue further hearings. This meant that the verdict previously issued by the Administrative Court of Appeal, i.e., that the procurement conducted by the SRA was correct, then came into force.
The preparations for the full-scale trial resumed immediately in April 2005. At that time the work had been at a standstill for about two months as a result of the legal proceedings as well as earlier standstills due to appeals. In conjunction with this, the Government decided that 3 January 2006 was the date on which the trial period would begin resulting in a total trial period of only seven months.
Local interest vs. regional
Different kinds of charging schemes have been discussed in Stockholm over the years. The fall of the so called Dennis agreement in the 1990’s illustrates the difficulties in securing broad and stable political agreements on controversial traffic issues such as congestion charging in the Stockholm region.48 A contributing factor is also that the political majority in Stockholm often switches which undermines the pursuit of long-term issues.
The Stockholm congestion charging trial was clearly defined as an issue for the municipality of Stockholm even though the whole region was very much concerned.48
There was a lot of opposition from the surrounding municipalities concerning this boundary of consent. Consequently many surrounding municipalities decided to hold their own referendums, however these were not given the same formal status as the referendum in Stockholm city.
Low initial public acceptance
When the political decision was taken to conduct a trial, public opinion was predominantly negative to the introduction of charges. (Further described in section 5.4.) Also the amount of media space regarding the future congestion charging trial was immense, often conveying a somewhat negative picture. From this perspective, arranging referendums regarding controversial issues like congestion charging is a rather risky political strategy.
National political agreement
The origin of congestion charges in Stockholm was somewhat different than in London with one strong political advocate in Mayor Livingstone. The Mayor of Stockholm had in fact made an electoral promise not to implement road charging. However, in order to form a national government in 2002 the Socialist party had to align with the Left and the Green parties. The Green Party held the balance of power at the national and the local levels.
One of the demands from the Green party was to introduce congestion charges in Stockholm. The negotiated deal between the national parties was to carry out a full scale charging trial, which in turn the leading party in Stockholm was forced to accept. In June 2003 the Stockholm city council passed a decision to conduct a trial implementation of environmental charges in the Stockholm inner city zone. It was also decided that the trial should end before the next election.
Further, the existence of the successful forerunner case in London should not be under estimated in contributing to political courage in the Stockholm case.
Trial and post referendum approach
The trial approach in combination with a post referendum was an important political strategy in trying to turn public opposition into support and avoid conflict48. The Mayor of Stockholm argued that it was important for citizens to experience the charging system and thereby form a grounded opinion before voting.
A referendum on the permanent implementation of congestion charges in the City of Stockholm was held in conjunction with the general elections on the 17 September 2006. Following an overall ”yes” from the citizens of Stockholm (51,3%) but an overall ”no” from the surrounding municipalities (60,2 %) the new government decided to install the congestion tax on a permanent basis.
If the referendum had been held in advance, it is quite likely that the result would have been as in Edinburgh.1]
Extensive communication efforts
Parallel to the technical implementation, the Swedish Road Administration conducted extensive communication efforts. The idea was that if drivers were well-informed, the flow of traffic at the control points would not be disrupted, Customer Services would not be overwhelmed by calls and in the end a reliable collection of the congestion tax would be ensured. The SRA strategy for achieving this was to communicate intensively while at the same time keeping a low neutral profile. The Swedish Road Administration did not engage in a debate on why congestion tax was introduced but rather on how the system would work and how to pay.
In the early stages of the project, the focus was on direct communication in the form of meetings, flyers and letters. Late in the autumn of 2005 a letter was sent to all vehicle owners in Sweden with information about the full-scale trial in Stockholm. Several activities were arranged in shopping centres and malls, such as at the Stockholm Central Railway Station and at public transport nodes. Meetings were initially also arranged for those living and working close to the control points. As the day for launching the system drew closer, the communication became more public and intensive.
Contact with the media was important during the entire project period and helped spread information to individuals and decision makers.
Balanced and measurable goals
The design of the evaluation appears as crucial from an acceptance point of view.48 The city of Stockholm was responsible for the extensive evaluation programme during the trial. Inspired by London, the strategy was to present traffic data initially at press conferences (go-live for 10 days) as well as presenting a full evaluation report at the end of the trial. According to polls in Stockholm, people became more positive throughout the trial as they experienced the obvious effects.
As basis for an evaluation programme, the importance of identifying balanced and measurable goals must not be underestimated when planning and designing the scheme.
1] K.Isaksson and T. Richardson, paper 2007, Building legitimacy for risky policies: managing deliberation on the frontline.
The main barrier in the implementation of the Oslo packages is the public attitude. The public attitude towards the toll ring has been negative over the entire period as will be discussed later.
Bekken and Osland (2004) investigated the political and administrative processes leading up to the Oslo packages. The study was carried out as part of a research project for the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the EU project REVENUE. The main purpose was to understand how the Oslo packages were made possible and how compromises were fashioned. The study showed that this was accomplished through negotiations between stakeholders. Three important elements in that respect were hypothecation of the revenue for “high-profile” investments, low toll levels with large discounts for heavy users, and no time variation in the tolls.
Hypothecation is regarded as a sub-optimal approach from an economic perspective, but it is an integral part of most urban road-pricing schemes. A large degree of hypothecation up front has been important to make the Oslo packages politically viable. In particular, having funds earmarked for public transport and for use within the different regions, seems to be important.
The main focus of the implementation process in Oslo has been to find a compromise that is political acceptable to a broad group of political parties, rather than to select policy packages that are economically efficient. The result has been both increased investments in both public transport and road infrastructure. Furthermore, some high-profile investments (such as the metro ring) have been included to sweeten the pill. Yet surveys of the general public indicate that the Oslo packages would be turned down in a referendum. A preference survey of decision makers also supports this view. These findings highlight the challenges of implementing urban road-pricing schemes in democracies.However, the main driver behind the Oslo packages was the lack of public funds to finance infrastructure, both road and public transport. This was facilitated by the long tradition for toll financing in Norway.
No information available.
Politicians may ask themselves: why pay for good behavior? “We do not reward people that do not steel.” Also, congestion charging can include fundraising for new infrastructures. Finally, the recommendation to only reward a selected group can face practical equity problems.
Drivers participated on a voluntary basis. It is not clear to what extent this fact should influence expectations of a larger rewarding scheme. The first volunteers may be easily able to (or interested in) adjust(ing) their behavior.
Implementing a rewarding scheme seems the best solution to be pushed and led by private parties, funded by government, and evaluated by universities.
Essentially the Durham charging scheme is active along one road (Saddler Street) and has not created any problems such as boundary issues or traffic displacement on to other routes. It would appear, therefore, that the scheme is broadly non-controversial and therefore there was not a high level of opposition to the scheme being implemented.As a historic city with a great deal of heritage, it is not hard to see why a road pricing measure was well received in Durham. The general public can acknowledge that the restraining of traffic in the centre is helping to preserve the city’s heritage and therefore a charge to protect this has been well received. Additionally, because the charge only affects one street, there is little financial disbenefit to residents wishing to access the main part of Durham’s city centre.
Throughout the development of the initiative, it was always clear that the charging scheme in particular was risky, and might fail at one of the decision-making stages. The Council therefore put forward two alternative strategies in its Local Transport Strategy (LTS) documents produced in 2000 and 2004. Each LTS included a ‘Base Strategy’ comprising measures fundable from expected conventional funding sources, and a ‘Preferred Strategy’ adding in the congestion charging scheme and associated investment.
Two pivotal decisions have influenced the evolution of the scheme, and arguably affected the eventual view taken by the public. The first decision, in autumn 2002, was to hold a referendum prior to making any final commitment to the congestion charging scheme. This decision1] was made at the same time as agreeing to submit the scheme to Ministers for approval in principle. The Council view was that “the recent, independently analysed, public consultation showed very mixed opinion on the congestion charging proposals. There was not sufficient public support to reach a final conclusion on a single preferred scheme” and “To recognise therefore that before any finalised scheme could be agreed, there needed to be a further test of public opinion and that test should be in the form of a referendum.” The Ministerial requirement for ‘clear public support’ to be demonstrated, although coming after the referendum decision, reinforced the Council in its view that this was the right approach to dealing with this controversial measure. However, Ministers gave no guidance (and still have not) as to how ‘clear public support’ should be demonstrated.
The second pivotal decision relates to the ‘package’ being put forward as the Preferred Strategy. Prior to approval in principle the Integrated Transport Initiative package being proposed to Ministers incorporated the congestion charging scheme, a package of transport improvements including a three-line tram network, and a request for an additional allocation of public funding amounting to £375m (450m).
The additional central funding was considered to be a justifiable element of the package in recognition of the Council’s willingness to take a serious political risk by promoting congestion charging, an important policy tool for government to be able to achieve national transport objectives. A parallel was drawn with Norway, where income from the toll rings introduced in Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim was matched by additional government funding for the linked investments.
However, the approval in principle by Ministers in December 2002 was followed in March 2003 by a further announcement2] that the Scottish Executive would make £375m (450m) available to the City of Edinburgh Council to fund “at least the first tram line” regardless of any eventual introduction of congestion charging. In fact, £375m (450m) was the estimated requirement for the first two lines. Accordingly, the Council determined that it would pursue the development of these two lines independently of congestion charging. The effect of this decision was to move the two highest profile projects in the Preferred Strategy into the Base Strategy. This changed the scheme not only from a presentational point of view, but also in terms of its appraisal outcome.
In particular, this affected the definition of the scheme examined at public inquiry in Spring 2004. The decision to hold a public inquiry was taken at an early stage in the process: not only was the possibility of an inquiry built into the legislation, but it could be called by either the Council or the Scottish Executive. The Council decided to hold an inquiry itself both to demonstrate its willingness to submit the scheme to in-depth scrutiny, as well as to minimise the possibility of unplanned delays to the overall timetable if the Scottish Executive were to require an inquiry at an unknown future date.
In spite of the changed nature of the strategy being examined the report of the Inquiry3] generally supported the proposals, recommending that the Council should ‘proceed with caution’ in taking the scheme forward, but also recommending some changes. The Council accepted many of these proposals, but not the recommended abandonment of the ‘outer Edinburgh’ residents’ exemption referred to earlier. It agreed to proceed with the referendum preceded by an information campaign.
The public inquiry of 2004 did not identify any significant barriers to the implementation of the scheme. In hindsight, the timing of the referendum in one sense created a barrier to be overcome, in terms of the need to win a large enough share of public support at a time when public support for the scheme was likely to be at its lowest.
The main driver for the congestion charging scheme was the Local Transport Strategy. Over a period of time, starting in the early 90’s, this strategy had been tracking trends in transport, identified the growing problem of increasing traffic growth and brought forward congestion charging as part of a preferred strategy going forward.
The evolution of the scheme broadly followed the guidance on development of an Integrated Transport Initiative (ITI) issued in August 2001 by the Scottish Executive4]. This included a two-stage decision-making process, with “in-principle” and “detailed” approvals required from Ministers for an ITI. As well as requiring technical appraisal (STAG5]), the guidance sets out four policy criteria that Ministers require a charging scheme to meet:
Separately from this guidance, Ministers also indicated when giving approval in principle to the scheme in December 2002, that they would expect “clear public support” for a scheme to be demonstrated at the detailed stage.
1] CITY OF EDINBURGH COUNCIL, Minute of Council Meeting, Edinburgh, 17 October 2002.
2] SCOTTISH EXECUTIVE, Press Release: Funding Secures Edinburgh’s New Tram Line, Edinburgh, 4 March 2003.
3] REPORTERS TO THE PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO THE EDINBURGH CONGESTION CHARGING SCHEME, Report and Recommendations, Edinburgh October 2004.
4] SCOTTISH EXECUTIVE DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT, Delivering Integrated Transport Initiatives through Road User Charging – Consultation and Approval Process: Guidance for Local Authorities, Edinburgh, August 2001.
5] SCOTTISH EXECUTIVE, Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG), Edinburgh, September 2003.
Access enforcement systemsAll the streets which give access to the city centre and the bus lanes are currently equipped with cameras in order to check if the vehicles accessing in the city centre are authorised. The cameras are able to read all car plates, check them with those contained in the database of authorised vehicles and, in case of violation, send the transgressor’s data to the Municipal Police Dept which will issue a fine.
No information available.
BarriersThe main barrier in the process of the Bergen programme seems to be the public attitude and the reluctance by the Public Roads Administration to accept the city tram as a solution to the traffic problems in Bergen. The public roads administration has argued that the revenue could be more usefully spent on other PT solutions.
Bekken and Osland (2004) investigated the political and administrative processes leading up to the Bergen programme. The study showed that negotiations between stakeholders and a broad political compromise have been important. Three important elements in that respect were earmarking some of the revenue for “high-profile” investments (the city tram), low fare levels with large discounts for heavy users, and no time variation in the toll levels.The main driver behind both the initial Bergen toll ring and the current Bergen Programme has been the lack of public funds to finance infrastructure, both road and public transport. This has been facilitated by the long tradition of using tolls as an alternative source of revenue.
No information available.
Dutch National Case
No information available.
BarriersThe main barrier in the process of the Nord-Jæren Package seems to be the political reluctance by two of the municipalities to accept the scheme.
DriversThe main driver behind the Nord-Jæren package as well as the other Norwegian urban toll packages has been the lack of public funds to finance infrastructure, both road and public transport. This has been facilitated by the long tradition of using tolls as an alternative source of revenue. Local acceptance has been a guiding principle. One of the important drivers for the package was the opportunity to finance improvements in local rail by the toll revenue.
During the period of preparing the toll ring and the investment package, shifting political preferences influenced the plans. Especially, the environmental upswing in the late 80's/early 90's was reflected in a demand management element in the fee structure, as well as in the allocation of part of the revenue to public transport, safety and environmental upgrading. Thus, the debate over the Trondheim toll ring has reflected a variety of arguments over the years. The following pro and con arguments were frequently used in the written public debate (newspaper articles and letters from the readers, information material from the public planning authorities, from 1986 - 1995):
The story of Trondheim's toll ring is a story of twisting and turning political preferences and compromises, and corresponding adjustments of the scheme design. Thus, a major planning challenge has been to secure sufficient agreement on the toll ring through more than a decade of numerous minor decisions. All the City Council debates concerning scheme design and adjustments, revenue disposal and road projects, provided opportunities for the opponents to contest the toll ring principle and the Trondheim Package. The planners' abilities to gain continuing support rest on an understanding of the political climate, close co-operation with leading politicians, and responsiveness to public involvement claims. (The planning and decision-making story, starting in 1985, is outlined in T. Langmyhr and T. Sager: Implementing the improbable urban road pricing scheme, Journal of Advanced Transportation 31:139-158.)
Three main "areas of preference" can be distilled from the public and political debate in Trondheim. Since 1985, no single "interest coalition" has been in the position to take a City Council majority for granted. Thus, some sort of compromise had to be aimed for in planning and decision-making concerning the toll ring. The preferences concern both the charging scheme design and the revenue disposal.
"The mobility interests" prefer to solve mobility problems by expanding road capacity. If road user charges are considered inevitable, the favourite solution is toll roads implying a close link between the charging and the benefit for road users. The demand management effects of charging are largely considered adverse by-products. Revenues should preferably be earmarked for road construction only. In Trondheim the mobility interests included the Conservative Party, the Norwegian Automobile Federation and major commercial actors. It is easier to gain support from these actors when the arrangement is limited in time, and when the local fund raising generates transfers from the State.
"The regulation interests" prefer a transportation system favouring "green" modes. Road building is tolerated as a necessary evil only where substantial environmental and safety improvements to dwelling areas or the city centre are expected. Charges on the use of private cars are considered a feasible means to reduce traffic, and to provide revenue for public transport and environmental improvements. A toll ring is an acceptable pricing system as long as the revenue spending is not too pro-car. In Trondheim, this preference cluster included environmental interest groups and left wing City Council parties. During the environmental turn phase, a major part of the Labour Party sympathised with the regulation interests.
"The carrot and stick interests" house preferences revealing a belief in a transportation system which is both efficient and environmentally friendly. Promoting public transport by improving its quality is preferred to severe restrictions on car use. The demand management effects of the toll ring are nevertheless rated as positive. The revenue spending called for is a "balanced" solution, allocating resources to road construction as well as public transport and environmental improvements. In Trondheim, a couple of parties in the political centre, as well as a varying proportion of the Labour Party have revealed "carrot and stick interests".
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