2006-01-09

a future less congested

The congestion charge is here. Just like in so many other major cities around the globe, driving into town during the most hectic hours of the week will cost money. And we’re all supposed to be upset, ready to throw out the politicians responsible.

Hold your horses! Congestion charges could prove an election (and referendum) winner for the red-green governing coalition.

Objectives of the Stockholm Trials are:

• Reduce traffic volumes on the busiest roads by 10-15%
• Improve the flow of traffic on streets and roads
• Reduce emissions of pollutants harmful to human health and of carbon dioxide
• Improve the urban environment as perceived by Stockholm residents
• Provide more resources for public transport

My guess is that the Trials will succeed in easing traffic jam. Congestion charges will become more accepted and even popular with those who live in the city. Mark my words: by September many critics will have fallen silent.

The Stockholm Trials have emerged through a disastrous political process. There are obvious flaws in the implementation. Yet, the idea of using good old market economy principles to put a price on a scarce resource remains our best hope for a future less congested.
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