This article criticises the British Government's road building programme, as presented in its White Paper 'Roads for Prosperity' (see IRRD 823662), and presents proposals for pricing road use by scarcity value. The Government's overall transport objective is to increase the economic effectiveness of commerce and industry. The author argues that, despite the planned major increase in capital investment in roads, supply and demand are now hopelessly out of balance, and that the programme will reduce neither traffic growth nor congestion. As long as road use is perceived as being 'free', expected increases in car ownership will continue to fill growing road space to full capacity and congestion during peak periods. After reviewing several alternative approaches, the author advocates levying a charge on vehicle congestion whenever it occurs, as he believes that this perceived charge would deter enough users to control congestion. An electronic device in the car would reliably detect the occurrence of congestion, as the behaviour of all vehicles has been observed to be identical in severe congestion. For example, a congestion charge could be levied, either when a vehicle stops at least four times within any 0.5 km, or when the speed without stopping falls below 4 kph within any 0.5 km. An additional charge could be levied for severe congestion. Payment would be via a prepaid card, costing 10 and containing 100 congestion units, for example.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Thomas Telford Limited

    London,   United Kingdom 
  • Authors:
    • -
  • Publication Date: 1990-3-1


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 46-47
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00606613
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL)
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 31 1991 12:00AM