The Stockholm congestion charges – 4 years on: Effects, acceptability and lessons learnt

Karin Brundell-Freij
Jonas Eliasson
Muriel Beser Hugosson

Congestion charges were introduced in Stockholm in 2006, first as a trial followed by a referendum, then permanently from 2007. This paper discusses what conclusions can be drawn from the first four years of operation. We show that the traffic reduction caused by the charges’ has increased over time, once external factors are controlled for. Alternative-fuel vehicles are exempt from the charges, and this has substantially increased the sales of such vehicles. We discuss public and political acceptability, synthesizing recent research and Swedish experience, and conclude that objective and subjective effects as well as general environmental and political attitude played a role for the high levels of public support, while institutional reform and resolving power issues were necessary to gain political support. Finally, we briefly discuss implications for the transport planning process in general.

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