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Implementing A Road Price To Reduce Traffic Congestion In Stockholm

2340 words - 10 pages

“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 ...view middle of the document...

In the study done by the Metro Vancouver Regional District for the BC Business Council (2007, p. 1), road pricing is defined as the concept, in which drivers pay for using the road, bridge or tunnel, or for driving into a defined zone. In that study, we are introduced with the idea of implementing a road pricing strategy to fight off traffic congestion. We know that traffic congestion is hurting our urban lives and we must do something. Richard Walton, the chairman of the Vancouver mayor’s council on transportation said “If you can reduce traffic by 10 percent, the congestion goes away” (Sinoski, 2014). It sounds like magic, but just a 10 percent decrease can make a drastic change!

Road pricing actually has a lot of constructive results if we try to put aside the dollars we scrutinize every time we cross a bridge. One major positive is that it creates funding for transportation infrastructures in the fairest way (Deloitte, 2010, p. 2). The benefits from that are quite compelling with the technology we have now to oversee road pricing strategy smoothly. Unless we do something, congestion will only proliferate. People will not like it, but it is necessary to fund costs to build bridges, upgrade highways and construct new public transit. You and I both know that it is never pleasing to drive on roads that have potholes everywhere. As it stands, it is evident that there is not enough funding for the Greater Vancouver to execute its road and transit plans over the long-term (Arnold, 2013, p. 11). User fees such as tolls would be a good way to provide the additional funding without adding more burdens to residents by other ways of collecting taxes. After all, if funding does not come from the few dollars of tolls, it will come from a much higher payment through mandatory property tax, income taxes, or other possible new sources of taxes.

As a once believer of “no road pricing”, I question that there must be other ways to generate funding for transportation. This is true. Road pricing is not the only way. In fact, we have already administered two other ways, which are commonly known as the fuel tax and property tax (Metro Vancouver, 2007, p. 7). However, these funding methods have their constraints. The fuel tax is there to generate revenues for many purposes, including transportation, but it is also shared with TransLink for developing the public transportation systems (Metro Vancouver, 2007, p. 7). Besides sharing the funding, the fuel tax is a limited source because it is only charged when you drive. This means, the less you use the vehicle, the less fuel tax you pay. Interestingly, the cost of using a road or bridge paid through fuel tax will not affect drivers’ minds as much because the fuel tax was paid in the past. The Metro Vancouver study (2007, p. 3) proclaims that when you have to pay at the time of road or bridge use, then you will become more conscientious of your choices and look for alternatives. This is a psychological effect that...

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