Mayor hails latest results on the impacts of congestion charging

The London congestion charging scheme after three months of operation, is exceeding it targets for reducing traffic and congestion in central London, monitoring programme shows.

Press Release

Mayor hails latest results on the impacts of congestion charging
June 6 2003

New figures show that traffic speeds have increased inside the central London congestion charging zone.

The  latest results, published today, from monitoring of the central London congestion charging scheme show that after three months of operation the scheme is exceeding its targets for reducing traffic and congestion in central London.

The results form part of a comprehensive five-year monitoring programme which is being undertaken by Transport for London.

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, said: ‘These results confirm that traffic congestion and journey times for motorists, bus passengers, and business journeys are significantly reduced both inside and outside the congestion charging zone. This is great news for everyone who travels into central London.

‘Reduced traffic levels have stabilised in central London remarkably quickly after the introduction of congestion charging. Even those who were previously sceptical are now able to clearly see the benefits that the scheme has brought.

‘Fewer traffic jams and faster, more reliable journey times into and within central London are good for business, tourism and Londoners. That is why the majority of business leaders have backed the scheme.’

The new monitoring results show:

Traffic Moving More Quickly

New results from a full bi-monthly survey of journey times on 70 kilometres of road inside the charging zone, carried out during March and April 2003, show that the average speed of traffic across the charging day (including time spent queuing at junctions) has increased year on year by 37 per cent to 11 miles per hour (17 kilometres/hour). This compares with eight mph (13kph) at the same time of year in 2002 and nine mph (15kph) in the last few weeks before charging was introduced.

Reduction in Congestion Exceeding Targets

Year on year comparison of the bi-monthly results indicate that the reduction in congestion during charging hours amounts to a 40 per cent reduction. TfL’s expectation was a congestion reduction of 20-30 per cent.

Other Results After Three Months

· An average of 98,000 individual drivers and 12,000 fleet vehicles pay the charge each day.

· Traffic levels entering the zone continue to show a 20 per cent reduction.

· Charging is delivering above the expected reductions in congestion inside the zone.

· Traffic levels inside the zone have reduced by some 16 per cent – TfL’s expectation was a 10-15 per cent reduction.

· Car journeys to and from the zone are quicker and more reliable than before the introduction of the scheme. Results from TfL’s driver survey show typical savings on a round trip to and from the zone are in the region of 13 per cent.

· Diverted traffic is being successfully accommodated.

· The various payment systems are working well, with retail proving to be the most popular, making up 37 per cent of total payments. There has been a steady move away from paying via the call centre towards payment via SMS text messaging. SMS payments have increased from 12 per cent of payments to 19 per cent since 17 February. A further 25 per cent of payments are being made via the Internet.

· As projected, the majority of drivers changing their travel patterns due to the charge have transferred to public transport with many choosing to travel by bus. Some, who had previously used central London as a cut through, have diverted from the zone. The remainder have switched to using their cars at different times, to different destinations, to taxis, motorcycles, pedal cycles, or to walking or have responded in other ways (eg car sharing).

· The cameras, communications and number plate reading systems have all been working effectively.

· Bus journey times are improving with big reductions in delays due to traffic congestion. Service reliability is improving too.

· As of mid-May, some 250,000 penalty charge notices (PCNs) had been issued.

· The level of PCNs being paid promptly is increasing (over 50 per cent are now being paid within 14 days, which is comparable with borough parking enforcement) whilst the level of representations received by TfL against PCNs is reducing (currently at some 20 per cent of PCNs issued) indicating increasing understanding of the scheme and levels of confidence in data accuracy.

· Two per cent of the total of all PCNs issued are currently resulting in an appeal to the independent adjudication service, in line with TfL predictions.

· The full range of enforcement procedures are now in place but not fully complete. The overall enforcement process is continuing to settle down.

· The five-year monitoring programme is proceeding well. A comprehensive programme of surveys and studies has been put in place to monitor the impacts of the scheme including the traffic, transport, social, business and environmental effects of charging.

The first annual report of the central London congestion charge scheme is also published today and shows in detail for the first time the baseline monitoring data against which the impacts of the scheme will be assessed. The monitoring programme covers traffic, transport, economic and business, social and environmental impacts.

Notes to Editors

1. Copies of the Interim report ‘Central London Congestion Charging Scheme – Three Months On’ are available from the TfL Press Office

2. The first annual report of the congestion charging scheme (detailing conditions before congestion charging started) is available online at:

Click here to view the webpage with this article

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