The results of the latest study on the Stockholm Congestion Charging System, by the City Traffic authorities, shows that it has significantly improved access to the Swedish capital, by reducing queuing times on access roads to the city in the mornings by 50%. The study of the IBM-created system also shows that overall city traffic is down by 18% and CO2 emissions in the inner city have been cut by between 14 and 18%. In addition, the number of ‘green’, tax-exempt vehicles has almost tripled, with the study showing that the congestion charging system is the most influential factor in the decision to choose a ‘green’ car.
The number of commuters on public transport has increased by around 7% or 60,000 passengers per day. During 2008, approximately 82 million vehicle passages were handled by the congestion charge system, with an accuracy exceeding 99.99%. IBM, as prime contractor responsible for solution design, development and initial operation, worked for the Swedish Road Administration and the city of Stockholm to develop the congestion charging system, which was rolled out in August 2007, following a successful pilot. The congestion charge is a national tax, with net income expected to be US$84 million in 2010, returned to the Stockholm region for investment in traffic infrastructure. The Stockholm system is the largest of its kind in Europe, with 18 barrier-free control points around the inner city equipped with cameras to identify vehicles around a 24 square kilometer area.
Ulla Hamilton, Vice Mayor of Stockholm, with responsibility for traffic and environment, says, “It is quite clear that the positive effects of the congestion charging system are continuing. Reducing traffic volumes, decreasing CO2 emissions and improving accessibility is bringing significant benefits to the city, its visitors, and residents, and has been a factor in Stockholm being awarded European Green Capital for 2010. It is also satisfying to see that the retail business in the city has not suffered as a result of the congestion charging system.” Jamie Houghton, IBM's global leader for Intelligent Transport Systems, says, “The Stockholm scheme will continue to be a major influence on many other cities considering managing the challenging urban development without incurring the costs of building new roads.”
September 25, 2009