As part of The New Zealand Initiative's transport research series, our second report, Pricing Out Congestion, focuses on the international experiences around congestion pricing, i.e. the use of road charges encouraging motorists to avoid traveling at peak times in busy routes.
More than just a driving nuisance, congestion constitutes a serious global economic problem. By some estimates, congestion costs the world about a trillion dollars every year. In response, cities around the globe are turning to scientific research and empirical support around the use of congestion charges to manage road overuse.
From the first congestion charging implementation in Singapore in 1975 to London, Stockholm, and Dubai in the 2000s to the expected 2021 New York City launch, a myriad of road pricing schemes are successfully harnessing the power of the markets to fix road overcrowding - and providing valuable lessons along the way.
In short, congestion charging works.
New Zealand should, therefore, learn from such international experiences to tailor a pricing scheme that is just right. By analysing the international experience on congestion pricing, this research note provides further insights towards a more rational, updated and un-wasteful urban transport system.
When the price is right, a proven solution to chronic road congestion is ours for the taking.
The first report in our transport series was, The Price is Right: The road to a better transport system (November 2019).