Congestion Charge

Congestion Charge


By the late 1960s, roads in the UK were becoming congested, particularly during peak hours. In 1964 the British government formed the Traffic Jam and Capacity Survey to investigate this problem. The survey's report in 1966, (Representations 32, 1966) stated that "the fundamental problem of controlling peak hour traffic on our principal roads is one of demand management – getting people out of their cars and into public transport, or off the roads altogether. " This led to the launch of a series of traffic dispersal schemes aimed at reducing congestion in specific local areas.

Over time these were expanded to cover more areas and provided funding for local transport schemes, including supporting their promotion and local implementation, Brentford ( Some studies have found that while some of these measures are improved, congestion levels are not. It was reported in 2006 that one kilometre of extra road space in England leads to a 10% increase in traffic within a year. Other reports are more optimistic, suggesting benefits where traffic calming measures have been used to minimise the negative effects.

One of the main issues with using the measure of vehicle kilometres travelled is that this overlooks quality of movement or service level issues such as journey times, reliability and access to destinations and services. The West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority (WYITA) has found that bus services and park and ride facilities (the most commonly used transport modes in Leeds) are generally effective at reducing traffic levels, congestion and pollution. WYITA have a "robust model" to predict likely future traffic levels around new or improved road schemes.

This model is used as part of the development assessment process for all transport schemes within the Leeds City Region. The opening of the bridge has reduced travel times and increased connectivity between transport systems in the region in a way that has significantly improved the integration of the area as a whole. It has been estimated that the bridge has boosted the economy by £1. 3bn, generated an extra 1. 6 million man hours, and created between 15,000 and 17,000 jobs.

In 2006, Dr Chris McCahill and his team at the University of Leeds conducted a study of traffic flow at Potterrow, a narrow cobbled street in the centre of the city. The study concluded that "adopting Dutch-style cycle lanes would. increase journey times for drivers". Brentford High Street is situated in Greater London and forms a major road link to South-West England. The A315 is a continuation of the route followed by the main thoroughfare that has existed since Roman times.


Transport for London then announced on 20 March 2014, that it would increase the charge in increments from 25p to 35p and make the system more simple by removing the different pricing bands. The changes are expected to generate an extra 155 million a year, taking the total to around 280 million a year. However, according to a YouGov poll in April 2014, 55% of people who use the charge did not know what they would pay when asked how much they thought it was.

Some 53 per cent support an increase while 23 per day support a reduction or abolition. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, stated: "I want the charge to become a realistic alternative to owning a car in central London. Increasing the charge from £8 to £10 is a painless and logical way to help clean up our roads and make this historic city of ours even greener. Along with initiatives already taken by Transport for London such as introducing hybrid bus fleets, if we can remove just two per cent of cars from central London the difference in air quality will be enormous.

". The Congestion Charge zone is a 10-mile (16km) addition to the existing London charging zone. Charges apply Monday to Friday between 7am and 6pm. There are no charges for nights, weekends or public holidays. The scheme was introduced on 17 February 2003 by Michael Heseltine, the then Minister for the Environment. The western extension to the zone was introduced in February 2007, with east London added in February 2012. It also allows passengers to make an online booking up to 3 days in advance or up until midnight before the start of their journey.

Suspensions, Avoidance And Evasion

TfL can suspend the congestion charge if there are major events affecting London, such as New Year celebrations, public demonstrations or some sporting events. They can also do this during exceptionally bad weather. In a small area around Parliament Square, which is normally within the Congestion Charge zone, traffic can be diverted away in order to protect the Houses of Parliament from vehicles moving around Trafalgar Square. TfL can also suspend the congestion charge due to police operations.

This has happened on one occasion since it was introduced in February 2003, when a police car chase ended with a crash onto Constitution Hill near Buckingham Palace.. "Avoidance" of the congestion charge is possible if the registered owner can prove that someone else was driving their vehicle at the time of the offence.

For example, The City of London police have been negotiating with Lupo-NAVTEQ maps (the supplier used by Transport for London) to allow drivers to indicate they were not driving when a charge was incurred and claim a refund. It was subsequently agreed that devices with GPS capability could be connected to a vehicle's On-board diagnostics socket, which enabled drivers to register that they were parked on the day of the infraction in order to plead "not guilty".

However, due partly to technical limitations for which TfL and City of London. The congestion charge is a serious revenue earner for London. It raises about £116 million a year, which helps pay for more than 1,500 new buses, more than 100 new trains and hundreds of extra staff at Transport for London. The charge was further increased 25p to 12. 00 midday on 2 February 2016 with TfL stating a purpose to improve traffic flow at bus stops and reduce congestion.

Payment By Embassies

While there are various ways to pay for the congestion charge, all payments are administered by Transport for London (TfL). Payment can be made online, over the phone ( Brentford ( ), via text message, at some banks or building societies or at selected shops displaying the "London Wallet" logo. The standard payment method is by credit or debit card. However, foreign-registered vehicles are able to make installment payments. Exemption from the congestion charge is possible due to diplomatic immunity, charging refusals and disability.

In an attempt to encourage payment, the UK Government proposed tough measures in early March 2015 to force embassies to pay for their parking or face losing diplomatic immunity and being impounded. The proposal would allow the police to seize the number plates of cars which breach the terms of the £3. 20 per-hour charge. The charge was introduced for non-residential parking; Londoners who drive into the zone during the day and pay to park are entitled to a discount.

Drivers may buy an annual permit for a car, or a pay-as-you-go Oyster card and typically compensate by adjusting their working hours or taking a slightly longer route to work. The Congestion Charge is an £11. 50 per day fee payable by drivers of vehicles entering a designated area of central London, England, United Kingdom. Payment is enforced by a number of cameras and automatic number plate recognition systems and the penalty charge for non-payment is £120.

Immediate Impact

Compensation claims increased by up to 25%, with 1,500 claims in January 2011 compared with around 1,200 for the same period in 2010. The number of personal injury claims also rose from 15 during January 2010 to 45 in January 2011. According to British Insurance Brokers'Association (BIBA), insurers received almost 500 personal injury insurance claims related to the ban. The mayor's executive member for transport, Mike Shaw said he "did not know how many accidents there had been as a result of the congestion charging" but that it had clearly become "an accident blackspot".

There are two ways of reducing the congestion: reduce the need for vehicles to travel in the zone, or increase the carrying capacity of roads. Reducing the need to travel might involve improving public transport, allowing people with town centre parking permits to park on residential streets outside the zone or reducing the permitted length of stay in car parks. Increasing road capacity might involve improving public transport (whilst also reducing the need to travel), widening roads within the zone and widening entry and exit points.

The charge was introduced on 17 January 2013. The day of the introduction saw a reduction in traffic of almost 40% compared to the previous Saturday, and there was a drop of 34% in journeys during charging hours (relative to the same period in 2012). Within two weeks, more than 100,000 electric vehicles had entered the charging zone. By 2013, about 4,000 EVs were registered in the capital, along with 4,500 regular hybrids.

Shortly after launch there were reports of misreadings. The way the system had been designed, a one-hour maximum stay time for free charging could be reset by ending the charging session and starting a new one. One person reported using a debit card to buy twenty half-hour top-ups in order to get free electricity for twenty four hours. The incident was claimed to have cost TfL £5,000. The trial reduced the total number of vehicles on the roads by around 25% on normal traffic levels, partly due to it also being the half-term school holiday.

This reduction in congestion has also had a positive effect on air quality. The AQMA reported that emissions of toxic NOx and particulates (PM10) fell by a third on the first day and remained lower than usual. One of its tributaries, Longford River (or 'river'), runs North/South through the grounds of the Manor. The building is one of only four Jacobean brick houses left in England. ". Transcript by LL member Keith Dockery.

2004 Election Campaign

The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Richmond (Yorks) Council all objected. Westminster City Council indicated that it was considering a judicial review of the expansion but Gordana Silvester, councillor for Holland Park ward, said residents would be prepared to finance it themselves if the council refused to back them. In April, the House of Commons Transport Committee published its fourth report into congestion charging and found little evidence that the C-charge had reduced congestion in Westminster since its introduction.

It also criticised TfL for not properly consulting with local people on the proposed western extension before issuing the consultation paper. The original consultation and expansion plans were announced on 15 May 2004, with details set to follow in the coming months. Campaigners fighting the western extension criticized what they saw as a lack of transparency from TfL, arguing that consultation was inadequate. In July, TfL confirmed its intention to reduce or scrap the proposed western extension, if successful in substantially increasing the number of people within the east zone area (which TfL had identified as a potential increase of 2.

7 million people), however no new timeline was circulated on the proposal. The proposed extension would result in the charging zone covering around one third of south and west London, extending it as far westward as Hammersmith and Fulham, C Kensington, Chelsea, Earls Court and Notting Hill. The western extension would also cover a much narrower area than before the expansion, with only minor roads (and no main roads) included.

 This expansion did not go ahead. The consultation was widely criticised, and it was demonstrated that even the less well-off residents of the new area would be able to afford the fares. The cost of expanding the zone further was put at £200m, but TfL said this would be reduced by £100m with other funding from private sources. The plans were abandoned after Ken Livingstone was defeated in November 2004. TfL described this extension as a "blueprint for all outer boroughs.

" The consultation included maps, projected fare changes, and the wording of the ballot papers. This consultation was controversial; some residents in the affected boroughs argued that they wanted to be able to continue to travel into central London without paying. The proposed extension was to be phased in over five years, beginning at a charge of £1 for single journeys. A similar low fare was long-established in the area covered by Zone 1.

Proposed Co2 Emissions Based Charging

In 2003, Livingstone approved the extension of congestion charging into the western extension of the congestion charge zone. Livingstone always advocated removing the western extension, which he did in 2007 after taking over as Mayor in 2000. In October 2008, he said congestion charging was "a great success" and he wanted it to be applied to vehicles using roads within a new London "beltway" circling the city at a further 10 miles (16 km) distance from central London by 2012.

The Mayor’s Office for the Environment (MOE) published “Air Quality Strategy for London” in December 2007. That document makes no reference to CO2 or climate change but is very specific about the health-damaging effects of airborne particulates. Based on that, the MOE proposed creation of a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in central London by 2009 to come into effect in 2012. TfL would then seek a sponsor for the new zone, perhaps one of the existing Zone 3 railway stations.

2008 Mayoral Election

In a letter to The Guardian newspaper, Boris Johnson argued that the current congestion charging scheme was "massively destructive" and "unfairly malign". He said that air quality is "dreadful" in central London, but argued there had been no discernible impact on congestion. The Institute of Directors disagreed, saying that its members believe the scheme fails to achieve its objectives. The Conservative candidate also argued there was strong public opposition to the new proposals for exemptions.

On 2 April 2008 Johnson was duly elected mayor of London with an overwhelming first round majority of 63 percent with most of the votes counted. His nearest rival, Labour's Ken Livingstone, conceded defeat, saying he had been "delivered a knock-out blow" by the electorate. Livingstone later said that he "had to accept that I could not win". The Green Party candidate, Jenny Jones came third ahead of Liberal Democrats Brian Paddick and independent Siân Berry.

Hackney Council's chief executive and leader were both ousted from their positions in May 2013. Roger Tregidgo, the former Chief Executive of Islington Council replaced Peter Golds in a vote by the Liberal Democrat group, after a rift between the parliamentary party and the executives. Paul Bell took over as leader from Jules Pipe. Advocates of the scheme responded that the reduction in traffic speeds would improve safety, and that it was essential to charge lorries in order to reduce air pollution.

Traffic Changes

On 12 December 2003, Mayor Ken Livingstone announced that to tackle these problems, he was introducing a congestion charge (toll) for vehicles driving in central London from February 2004. It would be £5 per day for vehicles travelling in a clockwise direction on weekdays between 7am and 6pm, with a reduced rate of £2 per day applying at other times. Between 3pm and 6pm, the congestion toll rose to £8. Drivers of cars registered outside London were required to pay the charge if they drove into the zone during these times.

A few months later it was reported that the Central London Congestion Charging Scheme had become one of the most successful transport schemes. Then, in February 2004, the zone was introduced with no warning. This led to traffic chaos, with tailbacks up to 9. 7 miles (15. 6 km). [ citation needed ] A slip road from Vauxhall Bridge Road to Vauxhall Cross was closed for several days and a nearby hotel had to get its guests in by boat.

[ citation needed ] Initially, the number of vehicles attempting to cross the southern boundary increased by 60%, from 18,000 per day to 28,000. The local radio station LBC reported that some motorists were taking detours of up to 87 miles (140 km) and avoiding central London altogether. On 24 February 2013, it was reported that the number of vehicles entering the congestion charge zone was lower than before it started. TfL also noted that traffic speed in the zone was slower with more regular and more frequent pauses.

In February 2013 the count at 18 automatic counting sites showed an average of 130,962 vehicles per day, compared to 242,089 in February 2004; numbers fell by 5% between 2012 and 2013. 44 sites were used to measure vehicle speeds with a mean of 13. 5 mph (or 22. 4 km/h), compared to 14. 3 mph (or 23. 0 km/h) in 2004. TfL also began to more closely monitor streets in the zone, including those in the outer zone.

They started to use rumble strips on gantries and reduce the amount of permanent signage on the Embankment. The rumble strips were modified to avoid noise distraction to local residents living close by. Between April and June 2003, TfL conducted an extensive baseline survey of traffic levels on Oxford Street. Pre-congestion-charge figures were as follows. A spokesman for the Greater London Authority said "The mayor has made it clear he wants to keep the zone, but a review is essential".

Public Transport

Public transport in Greater Manchester is provided by several different companies under contract to Transport for Greater Manchester. The Metrolink tram system covers Oldham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Leigh, Manchester, East Didsbury and Rochdale. While Tameside has its own transport system running between Ashton-under-Lyne and Stalybridge. Most places are served by regular bus routes, which are operated mainly by Arriva North West and First Greater Manchester. There are also longer distance services provided by Stagecoach Manchester which run from Manchester city centre to Ashton-under-Lyne, Glossop, Hyde, Oldham, Middleton, Rochdale and Stalybridge.

The MVV carried around 1. 2 million passengers per day in 2008 and continues to grow. It is one of the most used metro services in Europe. The MVV carried 130 million passengers in 2009, a growth of around 4% over the previous year. Despite being only there since 2006, the MVV was already the third most used transport network behind Berlin and Munich. In the same year it also continued to grow strongly in length: 1,076 kilometres (667 miles) long and carrying some 4 million people every day.

Parking In Outer London

Controversially, the charge is not enforced between 10 pm at night and 8 am in the morning. Despite this change, a survey conducted in August 2005 found that the charge had not led to a detectable increase in overnight parking in Camden or Westminster. However, it has been argued that early-morning commuters will now avoid these boroughs altogether owing to the charge, and instead park elsewhere. This could result is worse congestion during peak hours since relief will be provided from areas previously congested with cars entering London.

The London congestion charge is a daily fee of £11. 50 (rising to £13 from 17 February 2014) for driving a vehicle within the charging zone between 07:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday. The Congestion Charge is also payable every day from 10:00 to 17:00 for vehicles entering central London through the following road entrances. Parking in outer London … the subject of Council Tax Bands E to H has proved controversial in the outer areas of London … these areas … have tried to find solutions to the problems caused by unrestricted parking and the resulting traffic congestion.

Road Safety

The effect on pollution is disputed. London's NO 2 levels improved by 4% in 2013, but this was due to EU action on air quality and had little to do with the congestion charge. A subsequent study in 2014 found that although there were reductions in traffic volumes and vehicle emissions initially, these "reversed" themselves over time. The researchers concluded that the charge did not have a lasting effect on pollution levels, as it did not reduce congestion to a significant extent.

Nevertheless, available evidence suggests that the RCE has succeeded in achieving its objective of reducing central zone car traffic by 40 percent during charging hours, without causing serious adverse impact on traffic speed or bus routes. Traffic speeds have improved since charging began, even. The scheme has resulted in the City of London becoming a car-free zone since 2003, except for local residents and businesses (though the congestion charge applies from 7pm to 6am), and apart from a few experimental vehicles running on natural gas, there are no diesel powered vehicles within central London.

This is due to the air-quality concerns; although in 2007 European Union regulations had placed limits on the emissions for new cars sold in EU member states by 2015, which is said to contribute to meeting these concerns. The London Low Emission Zone requires all vehicles driving within it each day to have a certificate of exemption issued by the Mayor of London. Statistics for road traffic accidents, which were based on police reports until April 2009, show that the number of accidents is strongly correlated with the amount and type of rainfall in the days immediately before the accident occurred.

The biggest drop in accidents was noted during periods of excessive rainfall, while a heat wave in 2003 had no effect on overall numbers. Between 1950 and 1999 for instance, there was a total of 630 fatal or serious accidents recorded within the charging zone, an average of 18 per year. Road safety in the UK has been an increasing concern for many years. This is why many campaigns have been started in order to improve safety on the roads, most notably Brake and THINK.

At the beginning of 2003, the Transport Research Laboratory, a UK-based independent research organisation (with both government and industry links) published a report outlining some startling statistics about road safety. It was revealed that. We’ve all seen the stickers on vehicles, trucks and buses. “THIS VEHICLE IS CHARGED” or similar. It can seem quite off-putting at first; after all, what does it mean? What is it charged for? These stickers aren’t just there to make your journey more irritating; they are there to enforce a road pricing policy that has had a positive effect on London transport.

The London low emission zone (LEZ) came into effect on 4 February 2008. All vehicles driving into the central London charging zone, which covers much of the boroughs of Islington, Camden, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich, must pay a daily congestion charge or face a fine of £200 (reduced to £30 if paid within 2 weeks). …. Effective from 1 June 2010, a ferry service has been started to South Bank and the Cultural Forecourt in the city.

Discounts And Exemptions

In the last two years the estimated number of refund applications has tripled. These have increased revenues by £136m in 2017/18, up 20% from the previous year, and £107m in 2015/16. This increase has coincided with the introduction of or changes to regulations including in 2009 (requiring people to reapply for a free bus pass when they turn 60), 2013 (allowing entitlements to be transferred if you move house) and 2015 (simplifying the criteria for carers, parents and those with disabilities).

Travelcards may be purchased at National Rail stations, from post offices and by phone. They can be obtained for periods of one day, one week, or one year at an additional cost. Travelcards are valid on all London Underground services, buses, Docklands Light Railway, trams (except to Heathrow within the pre-paid zone), and most National Rail services within Greater London and zones 6 & 9. The NHS has traditionally operated a 'free at the point of delivery'service, meaning that anyone resident in the UK can use its facilities for free, regardless of their income.

No medical examination is required before being issued with services by the NHS across the UK. In England and Wales patients must be granted a chit (voucher) before admission to hospital. It ought to be pointed out that the NHS is responsible only for the actual costs of treatment; accommodation, meals, toiletries and other similar costs should be paid for by the traveller or where appropriate by the State or Local Health Authority providing care.

Toxicity Charge

The T-Charge affects vehicles that do not meet the Euro 4 emissions standards. All newly registered vehicles must meet these emission standards, so could avoid T-charge if they are replaced after their time limit has reached. This new rule aims to encourage owners of older vehicles to replace them with new cleaner ones. The T-Charge became operational on 23 October 2017 and operates alongside Congestion Charge during the same operating hours (7:00am to 6:00pm from Monday to Friday).

The price of the pollution-based charge was £10, reduced from £11. 50 previously. The T-charge is in addition to the standard congestion charge. On 23 October 2017, the day the T-Charge came into effect, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Transport for London (TfL) announced that it would be doubled in April 2018 if air quality did not improve significantly. This new toxicity charge is in addition to the congestion charge, which raises up to £1.

5 billion each year for modern transport, cleaner streets and better public spaces across London. The Mayor of London will use all of this money to support projects like a 24-hour Tube service on weekends and the delivery of hundreds of additional clean bus seats. Newer vans and motorbikes meeting the Euro 3 standard are exempt from the charge. Drivers must pay the €11. 50 congestion charge to drive in central London for a day, so older vehicles which do not meet the required Euro 4 exhaust emission standards must have an annual charge of £10 if they want to continue commuting into the zone.

The T-charge affects all vehicles except black taxis, private hire vehicles and buses, which are already subject to the existing London low emission zone.  The 10 charge is in addition to the congestion charge that all vehicles, including electric cars and non-compliant diesel cars, pay when entering the CCZ. The toxicity charge has been designed to improve air quality and reduce NOx [nitrogen oxide] emissions (particularly from diesel vehicles). The charge is only in operation for twenty-four hours per day, unlike the congestion charge which operates for twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Ultra Low Emission Zone

The ULEZ charges apply to the same vehicles as the T-charge and the existing congestion charge. Vans, minibuses, coaches and water taxis are exempt from all the charges. Between 8 April and 18 June 2019, drivers of petrol cars that do not meet Euro 4 standards will also be subject to the ULEZ charges. From 19 June 2019 they will be banned from central London. The Mayor has indicated that he would like to see the exemption of Euro 4 vehicles extended beyond 25 October 2019 but that it depends on there being enough non-compliant cars outside of the zone for Higher Charging Zone motorists entering London to continue to have a disincentive against doing so.

The ULEZ replaced the T-charge (short for "Toxicity Charge") which applied, on weekdays between 7am and 6pm, to pre-Euro 4 diesel vehicles, as well as Euro 0 and 1 petrol vehicles. The T-charge was introduced in 2017, after the European Union air quality limit for nitrogen dioxide was broken in London for the whole year in 2016. Compliance with the ULEZ was determined by roadside emissions tests using automatic number plate recognition equipment.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is an area within Greater London in the United Kingdom, covering most of North and Central London. It was announced in October 2017 by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, after the Government delayed plans for a national Ultra-Low Emission Zone. It was originally planned that it would be enforced from April 2019, but there have been further delays and it will now come into force on 8 April 2019.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is a charge that applies to most vehicles driving in an area centred on the Inner Ring Road of London. It was introduced in 2019, largely replacing the London Low Emission Zone (LEZ). It came fully into effect on 9 April 2019, but with charges applying from 8 April 2019. A new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) took effect on 8 April 2019. The ULEZ covers the same area as the T-charge and the Congestion Charge Zone but applies 24/7, every day of the year, with charges of 12.

50 a day for cars, vans and motorcycles, and 100 a day for lorries, buses and coaches. The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is a low emission zone in London. It is part of the Mayor of London's plans to tackle London's air quality problem. It came into operation on 8 April 2019 and will be fully operational on 25 October 2019 after additional consultation periods. Until 25 December 2009, it had operated as a free shuttle bus using buses loaned from Brisbane City Council, but since then has operated under contract by TransdevTSL.

Traffic Volume

Although a reduction in traffic volume seems to have been achieved, there are some concerns that the number of vehicles entering the zone may have been shifted into the evening. TfL-sponsored research suggests 61% of those surveyed in London supported the charge, and only 17% opposed it. According to TfL the average number of trips fell by 15% during its first year, while the number of private cars entering the zone during charging hours fell by 21%.

The total number of vehicles entering the zone each day fell by 10%. The fall was not uniform across all income groups — traffic volume actually increased for higher income households. The volume of traffic entering the congestion charge zone (CCZ) has increased 60% since the introduction of the scheme, from around 100,000 vehicles per day at the start of 2003 to 160,000 per day in 2005. This increase is partly due to an increasing number of businesses within the zone, as well as those that are exempt but now choose to use zone entry rather than pay the charge.

The number of active charge accounts has also increased; by June 2005 about 170,000 account holders were registered, whereas in February 2003 TfL had estimated that just 4000 residents or businesses would take up a charge account. A month after the congestion charging deadline, it had become apparent that traffic volumes had been reduced by about a third in central London. Although this was due primarily to increased public-transport usage and shifts of journey to the evening peak, the use of buses and taxis appeared to have risen slightly, although some bus routes were also reportedly overcrowded and increased journey times on some others.

Traffic Speeds

London's Transport Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy suggested that whether the introduction of the congestion charge in central London would actually result in more people switching from cars to public transport depended on the fares charged by the latter. TfL stated that after the implementation of new fares in January 2007, bus use rose by 47% across the network compared with the previous year and use of Travelcards increased by 41%. Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, was sceptical about these figures and argued that they were based on averages, so did not reflect the fact that Travelcard takeup had increased at a time when bus patronage had risen.

However he agreed there were more people using buses, "but whether they are. Traffic speeds have shown an overall improvement of around 10% in central London since 2008, with a 5. 5% reduction in vehicle kilometres travelled and a 10% reduction in average vehicle speeds. It has resulted in 22% fewer accidents and 40–50% fewer cyclists being injured at these junctions compared to before the scheme, although other cycle accident types have not changed much.

The scheme has also reduced bus travel times by 11%, and increased public transport usage across all modes except buses, with 4% more buses during the morning peak hour and 3% more passengers. London's Congestion Charge was introduced in February 2003 with the aim of reducing traffic volumes in Central London and typically raises about £100 million a year. It is believed to have been effective at reducing certain kinds of peak hour traffic.

However there has been no evidence found as to the effect on air quality of the decline in traffic numbers, particularly during hours when congestion charging does not apply. The charge zone encompasses Westminster, Temple, the City of London and the eastern part of the City of Westminster borough. Traffic speeds in central London were shown to be reduced by two thirds during the hour of operation between 07:00 and 18:00, and queuing lengths in Hyde Park Corner were cut from 600 metres (1,970 ft) to 60 metres (200 ft).

 An analysis with other measures  in place showed little benefit however; there was "insignificant" reduction in emissions at one location with a greatly increased level  at another (due to drivers seeking alternative routes), and there was little change in pollution at a third site. The central London charging scheme is a cordon around the area in which most of the Central Activities take place such as Westminster, Whitehall, The West End and parts of the city centre.

The cordon has a diameter of 8. 9 km (5. 5 miles) and is ring-fenced by check points with residents'parking permits exempt from charges. In July 2007 the original hardware was replaced with upgraded sensors, operated by TfL. Traffic data was made available in real-time to anyone interested in monitoring the flows, and thereby predicting traffic patterns. The scheme became TfL’s first true congestion management system and provided a working model of how other areas of London might be policed in future.

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Chris Whittaker

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