By on December 18, 2007

london-traffic.jpgThe London Assembly's Conservatives have released their 5th Congestion Charge Report. According to, the results is… more congestion. Since charges were imposed in 2003, central London's average traffic speed has dropped from 10.6 to 9.3mph. "Excess delay" (as measured by traffic cameras) went from 0.87 minutes per mile to 1.5 minutes per mile. Roads adjacent to the Congestion Charge (CC) zone are clogged with motorists trying to avoid fees. Motorists within the CC are also loitering with intent (to get their money's worth). What's more (or less from a revenue point of view), 41 percent of vehicles entering the zone are exempt from the CC (e.g. taxis, buses, hybrids and mopeds). At the same time, removing lanes from general traffic for buses and changing the light timings is trapping them in jams. So buses are traveling fewer miles at slower speeds– discouraging ridership. The report arrives just in time for a vehicle size-related increase in the charge, which will see some SUV drivers paying $50 to enter Mayor Ken Livingstone's auto zone. Conservative transport spokesman Angie Bray wonders when the madness will stop. "I could bung it up to £50 and then nobody would come in. Would that be your perfect London? Or do you accept that there have to be vehicles at some level traveling around London? Where would you actually stop?" Punk.

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8 Comments on “London Flunks Congestion Charge Report Card...”

  • avatar

    Funny, in the article linked in the previous TTAC rant on congestion charging, it said this…

    “While operating costs continue to rise, some of the initial benefits of the congestion charge are wearing off. At the end of its first year, the results looked encouraging: traffic speeds were the fastest for two decades, rising from 8.69mph to 10.56mph. The benefits were short-lived. Traffic speeds are now back down to 9.32mph”

    So the CC has not made traffic speeds worse, as is being claimed here.

  • avatar

    Could be London is special … though it would be interesting to know what the cumulative automobile numbers are for the affected area since 2003.
    Auto sales in Europe have been brisk, given the pace of the economy in latter years.

  • avatar

    Is this sad state supposed to me legislators concerned? I’d be concerned about their motives for charging folks. Anyhow, its clear that things wont (perhaps) change without at least a fight. Is throwing a tantrum what will work? I’d not even try on principle (throwing a tantrum), actually on it not being worth my while. Fight (peacefully), fight, fight and fight. Its the best bet I can see of changing the system. The citizens need to get in on it. The state of things need to be discussed. On principle at least.

  • avatar

    The problem with the current congestion charging scheme is twofold:

    1. The scheme’s goal is to reduce congestion by reducing the number vehicles in the zone, without regard to the number of passengers in the vehicle

    2. The loopholes actually encourage more congestion to be created by exempting certain vehicles

    The main goal of the London traffic authorities (or whatever the official name is) is to get people to their destinations as quick as possible. The main problem is that the roads are not adequate for the demand. You can not increase the roads in London, so the congestion charging scheme attempts to lower the demand of vehicles on the streets.

    But this is the wrong goal. The goal should be to use the transportation infrastructure in place as efficiently as possible. Ideally this would mean the roads would be full of high capacity people movers filled to capacity. Instead of 100 cars with 100 people, think 4 buses with 25 people each. Now that would cure congestion.

    So to get there, the goal should be people taking buses, or carpooling, etc. So congestion charge should be based on how many people are in your vehicle. Exempting hybrids and private taxis only hurts what you are trying to accomplish.

    And if you don’t think that required carpooling can work, look at the HOV leans in northern Virginia into DC. Those move a large number of people, as it makes the most efficient use of the lanes available.

  • avatar

    locker1776 – What makes you think that London’s transport policy doesn’t favour people taking buses? It seems to do exactly that. For some anecdotal evidence, check out this article by a journalist returning to London to live after a 20 year absence. The relevant bit…

    “Hey, but guess what: the buses are brilliant!

    I love London’s buses! There are so many of them! You never have to wait more than five minutes! When did that happen? (I know, actually; it was to do with the congestion charge, wasn’t it?) Well, it’s worked. In 1987, if you suggested someone take the bus, they would look at you as if you’d suggested they take a blunt knife to a particularly treasured body part. Then, buses were like an endangered species; for days on end you’d see none, then all of a sudden along would come eight. Now they are everywhere. So that’s excitingly new and different.”

  • avatar

    The goal of the congestion charge is not to improve traffic flow, but to deter cars from entering Central London. They attempt to achieve that goal by making driving into the zone tedious and costly enough that more people opt to use mass transit, instead.

    Assuming that you support that objective, the charge’s success or failure would be measured by whether the growth rate of vehicles entering the zone has been reduced or reversed. It’s not being imposed for the sake of drivers, but for the residents. And I doubt that many of those who live within the zone own a car.

  • avatar

    Perhaps somebody should forward a copy of this report to Michael Bloomberg.

  • avatar

    The best way to reduce congestion in London is to destroy the economy so there are no jobs and no shopping there. No jobs, no retail, no congestion! Just like East St. Louis.

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