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Urban Road User Charging Online Knowledge Base
The London Congestion Charging scheme has been operational for almost 6 years. Extensive monitoring and data is now available1].
In the Central zone the overall conclusion is positive. Many of the fears, prior to implementation, amongst key groups such as the business (retail) sector have been allayed. TfL report that analysis of business performance (sales and profitability) and business start-up (VAT registrations) shows stronger – both absolute and relative – growth in the original central London charging zone post charging than prior to the introduction of charging in 20032].
Furthermore in the Central Zone bus service reliability and patronage both appear to have steadily improved over time, compared with pre-charging conditions, although there has been some indication that increased traffic congestion was beginning to impact on service performance, both within the charging zone and more widely across London. Again increased congestion in 2006 is considered by TfL to be largely due to a rise in the number of road-works in Central London and not the Congestion Charge.
Early results from the Western Extension are mixed. For example TfL on-street surveys found that over 90% of shoppers and diners in the western extension said that they had not changed their trip patterns since the introduction of charging3].
In terms of business performance, TFL believe that particularly in terms of profitability and productivity, any negative changes that have taken place have been due to externalities and are not as a direct result of the Congestion Charge. For example the retail sector has faced variable and challenging trading conditions throughout 2008. It remains a challenge to disaggregate such results and measure the direct impact of the Congestion charging scheme in isolation.There is also some uncertainty about the continuing operation of the Western Extension. The Mayor of London announced in November 2008 that he has initiated the process to remove the Western Extension. This is in response to results from a non-statutory public consultation exercise.4]
1] Transport for London (July 2007) Central London Congestion Charging – Impacts monitoring Fifth Annual Report.
2] Transport for London (July 2008) Central London Congestion Charging – Impacts monitoring Sixth Annual Report.
3] Transport for London (July 2008) Central London Congestion Charging – Impacts monitoring Sixth Annual Report.
4] BBC News 27th November 2008.
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