“We have to make not using your car the affordable, safest and most convenient option for Londoners going about their daily lives.”
Variable pay-per-mile rates could replace Congestion Charge
Transport for London (TfL) introduced the Congestion Charge, which charges motorists to drive in the centre of the city during weekday peak hours, in 2003. Currently, the charge is £11.50 per day, with exemptions for low-emissions vehicles.
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That will be supplemented later this year with a T-Charge, which will require drivers of more polluting vehicles to pay an additional £10 fee.
But the Transport Strategy notes increased travel in London outside of peak hours, and the increasing use of number of hybrid-powered private hire vehicles. The study also notes that areas of outer London, where the charges don’t apply, suffer from similar congestion as central London.
The study includes a proposal that the Mayor will look at utilising new technology to develop “the next generation” of road charging scheme, with an integrated per-mile charge replacing the Congestion Charge, Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and other schemes.
It reads: “It is worth considering whether road use should be paid for in a way that better accounts for the impact and context of individual journeys. This would mean that some journeys would cost more (at busier times of day or in more congested areas or in more polluting vehicles), while others would cost less.”
Zero-emissions plan for London by 2050
The Transport Strategy also sets out plans to dramatically reduce pollution in the capital by 2050. This involves making the entire TfL system zero-emissions by then – but also includes a phased expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which will be introduced in Central London by 2019. That could lead to increasingly heavy levies on higher-polluting vehicles.
The proposals call to ban all but zero emission vehicles from Central London by 2025, and inner London by 2040 – with a London-wide zero-emissions zone by 2050.
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The strategy notes this plans will require the Government to further incentivise the uptake of zero-emissions vehicles, and provide funding to help build up charging and refuelling infrastructure, both in London and across the UK.
Discouraging car journeys: car-free zones and higher parking charges
According to TfL’s analysis of data collected for the Transport Strategy, three-quarters of the car journeys currently made in London could be made on foot, bicycle of public transport.
The strategy calls for London Boroughs to work to discourage unnecessary car journeys, and suggests the use of load road user charges, workplace parking levies and incentives to residents to give up parking spaces.
There is also a call to introduce variable parking rates, with higher charges for the most polluting cars, along with the concept of reallocating street space to encourage walking, cycling and public transport – including vehicle-free zones.
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The Transport Strategy reads: “This is not about being anti-car, but about supporting Londoners in moving around the city without having to rely solely on cars. By doing so, road space can be freed up for cycling and walking and for more necessary road usage.”
Have your say
The Transport Strategy is currently open for public consultation until 2 October 2017. It can be read here.