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Italy: Milan Urban Congestion Charge System Rewarded

  Posted at 02:00:00 PM
  File under  Travel Awards
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Normandy, France
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Congestion charge taxes/tolls in the bigger European cities have had positive and negative feedback ever since London started charging vehicles to enter their city. In today's society, where there are many cars, and people need to commute further and further, cities get gridlocked with all the traffic. So the only thing the city can do is charge money for cars (and often also motorcycles) to enter the city for the day.

But usually these "congestion charges" get met with a lot of resistance, often quite rightfully so. If you are going to make it expensive for people to drive into the city, you need to have a cost effective and always functioning public transportation system in place, and one that does no pack everyone in as sardines. Unfortunately that is usually the case.

But according to the International Transport Forum Open International Transport Forum link in a new window, part of the OECD, Milan Click for map in Italy has been running the most effective congestion charge system. First of all, it's the people in Milan who demanded such as system. 79.1% of them voted for a congestion charge, not really to prevent congestion but to dramatically reduce the pollution levels.

Milan Area C

Called "Area C" in Milan, this 8.2 km limited traffic zone is limited between Monday and Friday from 7:30 in the morning until 19:30 in the afternoon. The 43 electronic controlled gates, equipped with license plate recognizing cameras, automatically charge each vehicle €5.00 per day. It's a reasonable charge, and what's more important, motorcycles (and electric or hybrid cars) go free (until 2017 when motorcycles also need to pay). If you live in Milan, you get 40 access per year for free, and after the 40 accesses you pay the reduced rate of €2 per day.

At the same time, the authorities improved the public transportation networks, cycle lanes and pedestrian zones.

The results?
  • Decreasing vehicular access to the Area C: Daily vehicles entrance in Area C: 92 175. Reduction: -36 723
  • Decreasing traffic congestion: -28%
  • Reducing travelling time of private transport: Variation of the speed of vehicles: +1.5 km/h in the Area C, +0.3 km/h throughout the city
  • Improving public transport networks: Increase of public transport speed during peak hours: +6.9% for buses and +4.1% for tram
  • Decreasing the demand for public space occupation for on-street parking: -10%
  • Reducing road accidents: -23.8% (-26.3 % with injured; out of Area C: 10  -11% - 2012 compared with 2011)
  • Reducing pollutant emissions caused by traffic; Less emissions of pollutants: 
    Total PM10 -18% ; 
     Exhaust PM10 -10%;
     Ammonia -42%;
     Nitrogen Oxides -18%;
     Carbon Dioxide -35%
  • Reducing the health risk related to the air pollution: Less Black Carbon (BC): -52% (Sept 2013) and -32% (Oct 2013) of BC concentration inside Area C compared to the outside Area C stations
  • Increasing the share of sustainable modes of travel: Less pollutant vehicles: - 49% (-2 400 pollutant vehicles entering every day the Area C) and More cleaner vehicles + 6.1 % (from 9.6% to 16.6% of the total vehicles)
  • Improving the quality and the attractiveness of the urban center: reuse of the parking spaces no more utilized to enhance sharing mobility systems (car sharing, bike sharing)
  • Raising funds for the development of soft mobility infrastructures: cycle lanes, pedestrian zones, 30kph zones: During the first year the incomes from Area C have been reinvested in projects for sustainable mobility: 10 million € for the strengthening of public transport in order to improve its frequency and 3 million € for the development of 2nd phase of bike-sharing system.

According to the experts, the reason the Milan system is popular and that it works, is that the authorities went and asked the inhabitants what they wanted, and followed their wishes.

Not many governments and politicians would do that. They think they know better.

Click here to read more about the award given to Milan Area C Open 2014.Internationaltransportforum link in a new window

Via: Association Prevention Routiere

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