Implementing a Road Price to Reduce Traffic Congestion in Stockholm

Powerful Essays
“70 percent of the population in Stockholm wants to keep a price for something that used to be free”, said Jonas Eliasson who is an expert in the field of modeling traffic flow, analyzing commuters’ travel plans and factors that can influence people’s travel decisions (Eliasson, 2012). Who would have thought! People, like you and I, would actually accept the idea of paying to drive.

With the ever-increasing number of residents in the Lower Mainland, it is an unfortunate but inevitable shortcoming that we, as urban residents, have to accept that road congestion is around us. It is the byproduct of development and civilization. Definitively speaking, road congestion is an urban traffic jam where cars, motorcycles, and trucks creep along at a pace of a few meters per hour (Haven, 2013). Since 2000, the municipal government has been increasing spending to ease transportation by 34%, but traffic congestion is still worsening (Metro Vancouver, 2007, pg 3). In a recent study made by Deloitte for the TransLink (2010, pg.4), the study states that there were 1.4 million registered vehicles in the Metro Vancouver region in 2009 and this number has been growing at a rate of 30,000 vehicles a year. It was suggested in another report that Metro Vancouver’s road congestion would rise significantly by 120% by 2021 (Metro Vancouver, 2007, p. 2). Right now, it is costing the city $755 million annually due to congestions, which also induces the environmental and health impacts that are affecting our lives and finances (Havens 2013). In major urban cities, you cannot avoid it. This is reality that you must face every day as you rush out for work, for school, and for errands. We see it especially prevalent during rush hours. You can ignore it, but n...

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...r the pollution they are contributing when driving on the roads. Typically, the environmental benefits of road pricing are, more often than not, regarded as a co-benefit to implementing road pricing (Arnold, 2013, p. 18). The bulk of the benefit to introduce road pricing still remains with generating revenue and reducing congestion.

Politically implementing road pricing has been a tough battle, but it is actually believed to change people’s habits. It would force people to take public transit, carpool, or drive at different times of the day when it is less congested. When something is no longer free, people will analyze different ways to use the roads and incentivize themselves to use roads more economically. Perhaps one day, people in Metro Vancouver will look back at the tolls and realize how much time they saved to do something more meaningful with their lives.