In 2003, London put in place a £5 (about $9) a day congestion charge for all cars that entered the center city (the charge is now £8). This led to an immediate drop of 70,000 cars a day in the affected zone. Traffic congestion fell by almost 20 percent. Emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide were cut by more than 15 percent.
The negative side effects predicted by opponents never materialized. The retail sector in the zone has seen increases in sales that have significantly exceeded the national average. London’s theater district, which largely falls within the zone, has been enjoying record audiences. People are still flocking to London — they’re simply doing so in more efficient and less polluting ways.
. . .
Is London’s success a guarantee that congestion charging will work in New York? Of course not. But it is an indicator that properly executed congestion pricing works, and works well. Singapore and Stockholm already operate such programs and other cities are examining them. Given the success of congestion charging in London, this is not surprising.
For the full commentary, see: