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Urban Road User Charging Online Knowledge Base
How Can Strategies Be Developed To Meet These Objectives?
In deciding how best to achieve these objectives, cities have access to a wide range of strategies. The European Decision-Makers’ Guidebook (May et al, 2005a) lists the principal ones as reducing the need to travel; reducing car use; improving public transport; improving road use; encouraging walking and cycling; and improving freight operations. It also notes that cities tend to focus on public transport, road use and to some extent walking and cycling, whereas the greatest impacts are likely to be achieved by reducing the need to travel and reducing car use.
The DANTE project (DANTE, 1999) concluded in its summary report that reductions in car use are most likely to occur where a series of policies are in operation which reinforce each other. Other studies e.g. PROSPECTS (Minken et al, 2003), OPTIMA and FATIMA (May et al, 2000) have also recognised the need for synergistic combinations of measures via a package approach to combine restraint on car use with promotion of alternatives. The DANTE project also highlighted two potential problems. Firstly purely restraining car use might lead up to freed-up road space being used by others. This finding points to the need for a coordinated and consistent approach to achieve the best possible results even when road user charging is in place. Secondly, in some cases any travel reduction 'gains' are overwhelmed by travel growth in a relatively short period of time.
Road user charging is thus increasingly being seen as part of an integrated strategy, in which individual policy instruments complement one another, or overcome the barriers to the implementation of other instruments. Recent research has suggested that road user charging can best be reinforced, in an integrated strategy, by measures which:
The Stockholm scheme is an interesting example of the application of these principles. In particular it appears that the public transport improvements which were introduced were more effective in providing alternatives for car users, and in increasing the acceptability of the package, than in reducing car use in their own right
As a result of interest in the development of integrated transport strategies where policy instruments are combined to complement each other and to achieve improved performance against a set of policy objectives, May et al (2005b) applied an optimisation procedure to identify optimal strategies for packages of urban transport improvements to achieve various policy objectives. One of the conclusions of this study was that well performing strategies for a given set of European cities tended to include peak period cordon charges to enter the city centre. These cordon charges charge traffic for crossing the boundary into the charged area and this boundary serves to separate the charging area from the rest of the network.
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