The Fast Lane

Five years ago, central London, England, was a traffic congestion nightmare. Double-decker busses, taxis, commuters and trucks jammed the area and average speed was a dismal 8 mph. To ease the situation something very experimental was instituted. By applying market principles and new technology to 8 square miles of central London, a "central charging zone" was created. Upon entering the zone between 7 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., license plates are photographed and entered into a database. Drivers are assessed about $9.50 and can pay online, by phone, at kiosks, at stores or gas stations. A stiff fine is assessed for anyone not paying by midnight of the travel day. The "central charging zone" has proven to be huge success. 60,000 fewer cars a day enter the zone and bus and transit ridership is up. Now several U.S. cities are considering adapting their own versions of congestion pricing. There are several "High Occupancy Toll" (HOT) projects under construction or being planned around the country. Minnesota, Colorado, Washington State, Georgia and Virginia all have HOT plans for the future. Since budget constraints prohibit states from building new highways, finding better use options and higher capacity innovations means less congestion, more carpooling, increased transit ridership and eventually less stress on the environment.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Photos;
  • Pagination: pp 24-30
  • Serial:
    • Governing
    • Volume: 18
    • Issue Number: 8
    • Publisher: Congressional Quarterly, Incorporated
    • ISSN: 0894-3842

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01000369
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 12 2005 1:16PM