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Congestion Charging Update

According to the Economist, London's congestion charging -- blogged about earlier here -- is going well indeed:

It has been a bad month for those who predicted that London's congestion charge would bring the city to a chaotic halt. Since the £5-a-day ($8) charge for driving in central London between 7am and 6.30pm was introduced on February 17th, average speeds in the area have more than doubled...

According to Derek Turner, boss of the capital's street management department, traffic has been reduced by 20% and delays cut by nearly 30%. Speeds in the charged zone have increased from 9.5mph to 20mph. Delays to buses caused by congestion are down by half. As a result, bus passenger numbers are up by 14%...

Those living on the zone's borders feared that traffic would be diverted on to their streets. Mysteriously, although there is 10% more traffic on the peripheral roads, journey times along them have not increased...

According to a MORI poll, 50% of Londoners are in favour of the congestion charge compared with 36% against. [London mayor Ken] Livingstone's personal poll ratings are now higher than they were when he was elected three years ago. His aides joke that he has peaked too soon.

Mayor Livingstone has promised to extend congestion charging to additional areas of central London if given the opportunity. Let's hope it spreads far beyond just London.

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