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Urban Road User Charging Online Knowledge Base
Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, with about 765 000 inhabitants in the municipality and 1.9 million in the whole county. A third of the inner-city area consists of water and the townscape is framed by bridges that link the city’s islands to the mainland. High levels of traffic and a radial infrastructure network make the transport system in Stockholm very strained and vulnerable. About 500 000 vehicles pass in/out of Stockholm’s inner city every weekday. 70 % of all passengers travelling to the inner city during the morning peak period use public transport. Traffic in the Stockholm region has risen rapidly due to economic and population growth as well as increased travel.
In Stockholm, a full-scale congestion charging trial took place between January 3rd and July 31st 2006, followed by a referendum on September regarding the future of the congestion charge. Following an overall ‘yes’ vote from the citizens of Stockholm city but an overall ‘no’ vote from the surrounding municipalities, the new government decided to reinstall the congestion taxes from August 2007.
The purpose is to reduce congestion in and around the city centre, thereby improving accessibility and also the environment in the most densely populated areas. The charging system is designed as a toll ring, with the charges varying over the day according to the congestion levels. Car passages to and from the inner city decreased by about 20 % during the trial as well as during the initial month of the permanent system. On the surrounding road network outside the charging zone monitoring show both an increase and decrease in traffic.
The congestion charge trial in 2006 was accompanied by a package of public transport improvements, where the main part was the addition of new bus lines from the suburbs to the city centre. Improvements were also made in park&ride facilities. During the trial, public transport increased by about 7 %. Public transport is also enhanced in the permanent charging scheme, but the commitment of the new government is somewhat different from that of the trial. The revenues from the charges will now be reserved for road infrastructure in the region.
In Sweden, congestion charges are classified as a “tax” rather than a “fee”. This means that it is the state that collects the congestion charges, since local government bodies can only collect taxes from their own citizens. The National Road Administration is responsible for collecting the charges and administering the system, while the city of Stockholm is responsible for monitoring the impacts of the scheme.
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