Recent data in Stockholm shows that the permanent charging program, reintroduced in August 2007, has reduced traffic by 18 percent exceeding the project goal of 10 to 15 percent.

August 2008

Summary Information

The report "Lessons Learned from International Experience in Congestion Pricing", prepared in August 2008, provides a summary of selected operational area wide congestion pricing projects outside the United States. This report provides findings and draws lessons from a sample of projects with the richest and most relevant experience, focusing on three comprehensive area wide projects: Singapore, London and Stockholm. Each received in-depth attention during planning, design, implementation and operational phases and have been monitored and evaluated carefully. These projects should be of particular interest now that several U.S. cities are beginning to examine similar area wide pricing strategies to address congestion, environmental, energy and funding problems in heavily congested downtown areas.

Research on acceptability is especially detailed in these international locations and provides valuable lessons for U.S. cities interested in pursuing such policies. The report concludes with overall findings and lessons related to travel, costs and revenues, equity and economic impacts, environmental impacts; and public acceptance. These projects have demonstrated that pricing can be an affective means of managing demand and generating revenues and can be politically and publicly acceptable.

Findings from Stockholm

In Stockholm, the central city area of approximately 20 square miles (including about 10 square miles of the river and sparsely developed land) was designated as the priced zone. It covers the central city and constitutes but a small part of the urbanized county area. The population of the city area is 756,000 out of the total county population of 1.8 million. The three elements of the program are Charging Cordon, expanded Transit Routes, and new Park-and-Ride Lots. Charging is based on a fixed rate by time of day.

A full-scale six-month trial was in affect from January through July of 2006 and a detailed evaluation was carried out. The stated goals were to reduce congestion and enhance public transportation to increase accessibility, and improve the environment. The project goal was to reduce traffic by 10 to 15 percent.
The following results were documented:
  • Overall traffic to and from the inner city declined by 10 to 15 percent (with declines ranging from 9 to 26 percent in different sectors).
  • The worst queues in and near the city center decreased by 30 percent and more.
  • The biggest decline was during the PM peak period. Traffic also declined in the evening after the charge period ended.
  • There was a 14 percent reduction in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the charged zone and 1 percent reduction in VMT outside the zone.
  • There was an increase in travel time reliability and traffic volumes on most congested roads dropped by 20-25 percent.
  • Public transportation use increased by 6 to 9 percent, though this increase could not be all attributed to congestion charges. It appears that less than 50 percent of car users who gave up trips during the charge period shifted to transit. Few changed time of departure.
  • No significant increase was observed in cycling, carpooling or telecommuting.
The pricing scheme was then reintroduced permanently in August 2007. The following results were documented:
  • The permanent charging program has reduced traffic by 18 percent.
  • The proportion of exempted "green" cars has risen to 9 percent.
  • Access to the city has again improved considerably with a reduction in travel times on city streets and approach roads.

Benefit Comments

No comments posted to date

Comment on this Benefit

To comment on this summary, fill in the information below and click on submit. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field. Your name and email address, if provided, will not be posted, but are to contact you, if needed to clarify your comments.


Lessons Learned From International Experience in Congestion Pricing - Final Report

Author: Kiran Bhatt, Thomas Higgins

Published By: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

Source Date: August 2008



Average User Rating

0 ( ratings)

Rate this Benefit

(click stars to rate)

Goal Areas


Typical Deployment Locations

Metropolitan Areas


None defined

Benefit ID: 2010-00623