definition of Congestion - Humpy
I was watching the ITV evening news tonight and, more specifically, a report about the new M6 toll section. The reporter was extolling the virtues of toll systems and using the Durham and London congestion charges as expamples. He quoted a reduction in congestion by 80% and 30% respectively for the city experiments.

How do you quantify congestion so that you can quote percentage reductions?? Are these figure plucked from the sky with some dubious political reasoning or is there a complicated statistical formula?
definition of Congestion - hxj

You don't they are just idiots.

What they mean is that traffic has reduced by 80% and 30% in the charging periods.

We all know that that does not mean that congestion is reduced by 80% and 30% but after all they are only journalists!
definition of Congestion - nick
Sounds like a good result to me. Charging works, it seems.


(Thinks to self, that'll rattle a few reactionary cages!)
definition of Congestion - v0n
Let me tell you other statistics that work - if you change speed limit in Limehouse Tunnel back from 30 to 40 mph the congestion on the entire embankment will improve by 20% and statistical traffic flow will be whooping 1/4 faster. How is that for a pretty number? In similar fashion - if we reduce number of licensed cabs and doubledecker busses in Central London by half and in the same time drop the (c) charge the congestion will drop to 65% and statistically commuting for at least 30% of Londoners will become up to 1/3 faster and 400% cheaper. Voila.
:D
definition of Congestion - king arthur
Well that 30% of traffic that is no longer inside the London CCZ seems to have all migrated to the ring road!
definition of Congestion - nick
''from 30 to 40 mph the congestion on the entire embankment will improve by 20% and statistical traffic flow will be whooping 1/4 faster. ''

30 to 40 is a third faster, not a quarter.

Besides, this is hypothetical number juggling, not what has actually happened. Charging does seem to work in reducing traffic volumes and increasing average speeds in the charging area. Why does it hurt so much to accept that? Because Cuddly Ken was right?

Regarding traffic outside the charging area, does anyone know of any objective statistics on this? I would imagine the traffic would be more heavy, but possibly there would be a reduction in traffic passing through to the CZ so it might not be much worse. I read somewhere that bus usage in the zone had gone up 30%, another good thing. The buses are running anyway, they may as well be full.
definition of Congestion - v0n
Besides, this is hypothetical number juggling, not what has actually happened. Charging does seem to work in reducing traffic volumes and increasing average speeds in the charging area. Why does it hurt so much to accept that? Because Cuddly Ken was right?

Charging doesn't seem to work, financial troubles of Congestion Charge plans and firms involved in implementation should be great example. So if it doesn't bring expected money, and so far creates further losses what does it do? It creates expense of at least £4 to people who used to drive to work, it also moves them, in their suits and clean shirts into smelly, sweaty, overcrowded, rat infested underground tunnels and always late trains. £5 on top of usual delivery costs is also suddenly in the food you eat, that coffee you drink and everything else you buy. It's just another administrative expense of working in the city, the reason behind £3.50 for wet, spongy, unfresh but double taxed supermarket sandwiches and a can of coke costing whooping 60p. From my point of view it just another milestone in politics of stupidity that will, sooner or later grind London to a halt. If you think about it - it's no longer profitable for a temp or student to come and work in The City. It will cost them at least £5 a day to get to work and back, £5 to eat something during lunch break. But their 4 hour part time job will only provide 12-15 pounds of minimum wage a day! Now, once we got all the temps, kitchen porters, sale assistants, coffee baristas and floor sweepers out of the way the Cuddly Ken, as you call him, took on upper staff. Let?s say you were commuting from place like Dartford, or Basildon, somewhere on the outskirts. It used to be very simple choice ? about 6-7 litres of petrol or £10.50 day return by rail + £4 to travel on Underground. Now we have additional £5 penalty for not supporting rip off public transport.
So, what has Congestion Charge proven - that 70% of traffic is caused by queued taxis and buses in the first place? That unless you earn big bucks there shouldn?t be any job for you in the city? That it?s ok to pay for daily 40 mile commuting as much as people pay for national flight on the continent and Canadians pay for 50 litre tank full of gasoline?

definition of Congestion - Bromptonaut
v0n wrote:

Charging doesn't seem to work, financial troubles of Congestion Charge plans and firms involved in implementation should be great example. So if it doesn't bring expected money, and so far creates further losses what does it do? It creates expense of at least £4 to people who used to drive to work, it also moves them, in their suits and clean shirts into smelly, sweaty, overcrowded, rat infested underground tunnels and always late trains.

But it doesn't work like that does it.

I have never understood the concept that while the train is always late the private car is 100% on time door to door transport. Because my limited forays into Central London by car never work out that way. Sometimes the trains are late, but with a ten minute interval commuter service does it matter if you get the late running 7:30 instead of the 07:45. I'm no lover of the tube, prefer a folding bike, but again there's usually space if you walk down the platform instead of joining the sheep near the entrance. See the odd mouse, no rats.

How many employers in the CC zone provide parking for the ordinary foot soldiers?. My employer actually did in one building, first come first served. Often overflowing by 08:00 it distorted use of flexi-time impinging on service levels and the latecomers ended up either going home again or paying the £10 or so it costs on the nearby NCP car park.

Temps, students etc use the 'bus. A weekly bus pass is £9.50, an all zones travelcard for tubes, buses and trains is £26.70. And still people convince themselves it's easier and cheaper to drive.
definition of Congestion - v0n
Well, the point is that if you do choose a car as your method of transport, something you are fully entitled to do, you take matters in your own hands. However, if pay for service you expect it to perform.

I simply refuse to understand people imply that public transport is good for absolutely everyone and everybody. Except the fact there are countless cases, where either for medical or psychological reason travelling in dirty, stinky tunnels and sweaty shaking routemaster wagons is not an option, there is also a simple matter of common sense. Not everyone can afford gums on his suit, not every sale rep can afford heavy perspiration before his meeting and as I said before even not everyone, presented with alternative, can afford 5 quid ticket. Coming to the temps and students situation - not only the bus is hardly a simple option but weekly passes are often out of a question, simply because of the character of temporary and part time employment. In many places in the centre of the city the bus is not an option for anyone, full stop. Let me just give you another example - I'm fully employed for the past 10 years, for the last 4 I travel at 7.30 am from Isle of Dogs, zone 2, to High Holborn, Zone 1. Despite living in what many would call still very centre of London I have a choice of:

1. 5 minute walk, Docklands light railway to Bank and central line to Chancery Lane.
TT in peak hours: 46 minutes on average each way. Cost: £4 a day

2. Taking three buses with interchanges at Commercial Road, Archway and Bank. TT in peak hours: around 70 minutes each way, Cost: 4x70p, 2x£1, £4.80 door to door.

3. 7 mile car trip on dual carriageway through Limehouse tunnel, Tower Hill and embankment. Providing I have somewhere to park if there was no congestion charge to match the cheapest and fastest public transport my vehicle would have to crawl on average 10 miles per hour and burn around 20 litres of petrol per 60 miles.

Needless to say even in worst hours you still get to the city faster by car than any public transport method, which at the end of the day is a reason why black cabs are still majority of traffic in the city. And the same truth goes for the entire East London - unless you live and work directly next to Jubilee Line or Central Line all other methods of transportation except car are slower and more expensive.
Currently I choose to work night shifts, so I avoid Congestion Charge all together, but you have to understand that this 30% reduction in congestion is not necessarily a success. Noone drives to the city because they like it. It's highly possible that to achieve a mere 14% speed up in cab and bus traffic (cause that's the number acc. to TFL) 30% of commuters is now wasting much more time and money to commute by inefficient methods of public transport. And on new years day, when all underground and bus fares rise once again (10% single ticket, 12.1% weekly travel card and all busses in zone 2 to £1) their annual budget will suffer because a funny guy up there in Town hall had a bright idea driving car to work was bad for them.

From any perspective, if you were already performing surgery on roads and traffic in the city, congestion was easy to organise: leave bus routes to buses only and force taxis to drive with other cars.
Voila, there you go - Ken?s commuters would move faster, everyone else could be stuck in traffic if they rightly choose to do so. And if it takes them longer to get work, but is cheaper and more satisfying for them, then so be it. Who are you or Ken to judge what's better for them. They paid road tax, they paid for fuel, you have no right to penalise them for their choice of transport. It's the simple freedoms that make us better communities.

/rant mode off/
definition of Congestion - Cardew
vOn,
Your experience is similar to mine. Living in zone 2, working in Whitehall area - luckily I can park at work. Cost £4 return taking 2 x bus journeys or £5.20 bus + tube. Time 45-60 mins each way.
Car costs < £1 petrol + £5 for Ken. Time 15-20 mins listening to Radio 4. No contest! I suppose that a £10 congestion charge would be the point at which I might start to reconsider my options.

As you say, bus journey times could be reduced considerably if taxis were not allowed in bus lanes - see separate thread.

Another point is that the Euston Road and Park Lane (the major roads bordering the North and West of the Zone) are more congested than ever with traffic avoiding the £5 charge for entering the zone.

Lastly it is a certainty that most major towns and cities will follow London's example.

"Congestion charging is coming to a town near you soon!"

C
definition of Congestion - SteveH42
It always amuses me when people use Durham as an example of positive congestion charging. The road affected was never congested in the first place - traffic flow was indeed very light on it. The congestion came from pedestrians who had two fairly narrow footpaths to deal with and the usual idiots who stand in large groups blocking entire footpaths.

I will say that it has made things better in that pedestrians can now wander down the middle of the road with little to worry about. The same thing could have been achieved by making the worst section pedestrians only and opening one of the other access roads to the Cathedral Green for residents access only.
definition of Congestion - Mark (RLBS)
I think the point of congestion charging is being missed.

Why wasn't the daily charge £50 ? Because nobody would pay it.

Why wasn't the daily charge £0.50 ? Because it wouldn't raise much revenue.

The whole point was to set the charge at a level which would raise significant revenue if it was paid, but not at such a high level that nobody would pay it.

If you truly wanted to stop cars, and only that, then you'd set it at a £1000 per day and be done with it.
definition of Congestion - Cardew
Mark,
You appear to be implying that the reason Ken introduced Congestion Charges was to raise revenue rather than reduce congestion.

If his motive was financial surely he would have not allowed free access to the zone after 6.30pm and weekends.

His declared intent was to reduce traffic by 10-15% and in that he has succeeded. However even last year he made it plain that if traffic had not reduced by that figure he would raise the charge progressively until traffic levels had reduced sufficiently.
C
definition of Congestion - Mark (RLBS)
>>You appear to be implying that the reason

Yes, Although I would have said "stating" rather than "implying".
definition of Congestion - nick
I doubt that Ken would have taken the political and financial risk of the CC just to raise a bit of revenue. He was elected with the CC in his manifesto, he did it, it works as he said it would, so good for him. If it does make a profit, then he'll need less taxes or can provide more services. If it doesn't, then that is the cost of reducing traffic in central London. If the punters don't like it, they'll vote in someone who'll do away with it.
I don't agree with some of what he says or stands for, but he was right on this and I think he is right about the public/private partnership of the Tube.
I think he'll win the next mayoral election too.
Getting a bit political so.... off to another thread.
definition of Congestion - BrianW
It might have speeded up traffic in central London, but that's not where the problems are, they are in the periphery inside the North Circular/South Circular.
And those areas have been slowed down by bus lanes and rephased traffic lights.
I have been doing the same journey by motorbike for ten years, only the last 100 yards of which are within the congestion charging zone, and in that time the journey time has increased from 75-80 minutes to 90-100 minutes.
IMHO the wrong target is being shot at, it only looks good by selecting the central area which never has borne a lot of delays.
definition of Congestion - Armitage Shanks{P}
So far as I understand the funding the CC in London, it is not making as much profit as was predicted and part of this is due to the fact that the company running it has been given a lump sum out of the profits that the scheme has made (such as they are, so that the company is making its profit! My definition of congestion would when one is unable to drive safely (spacing etc) and subject to weather conditions, at the posted speed limit for the road on which one is driving.
definition of Congestion - eMBe {P}
personal definition of congestion: any traffic flows at less than half the posted speed limit, but particularly so if it involves stop-start flows.

As for London CC, the charge has been a
- success from the point of view of motorists who pay it because thier journey times have improved, stress/accident levels gone down, and cost after fuel savings is negligible.
- failure from Red Ken and Capita's point of view, because the revenue raised is much less than forecast and hence payment to Capita has been less. Also, the number of CC evaders/uncollected-fines is high with an excess over prediction for disputed claims.
- success from point of view of those who avoid payment and get away with it.
 

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