Discussion of social impact of central London - Society Essay Example

Abstract

Congestion charge was introduced in Central London by Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London City in February 2003 in an effort to ease traffic congestion that had severely rocked the city - Discussion of social impact of central London introduction. The was no other way to ease congestion in Central London that to introduce a fee that was to be charged to all private motorists who were using Central London roads. By introducing a £5 charge to private vehicles interring the city ensure that they kept away from the city thereby ensuring that only those vehicles which could afford to pay the charge were driven to the city. Although the move was criticised by the business community, this charge was later increased in 2005 from £5 to £8 in an effort ease more congestion in Central London City. This paper will discuss the social impact that has been experienced in Central London since the introduction of congestion charge in February 2003. It will also compare the social aspect of the congestion charge before and after it was introduced. The paper will finally discuss the future of the London congestion charge and its impact on social life

Need

essay sample on "Discussion of social impact of central London"

? We will write a cheap essay sample on "Discussion of social impact of central London" specifically for you for only $12.90/page

More Society, London Essay Topics.

Central London Congestion Charge

Introduction

            In order to reduce traffic congestion in London City, a fee was introduced to be charged to all private automobiles that are driven to the central area during the weekdays. Despite the move reducing the traffic congestion in the city, it was also a form of raising revenue in order to improve the transport system in the region. As a result, traffic congestion was reduced significantly and the roads were clear for any other emergency road users to use it without difficult for example ambulances or fire fighting vehicles. There was also a substantial improvement on the tax and bus services in the region since the introduction of congestion charge in Central London. The congestion charge was the first one to be introduced in European cities and there are plans to introduce the pricing program in other major cities in order to ease traffic congestion and raise revenue to improve the transport system. [1]

            The congestion charge program was introduced in February 2003 whereby motorists driving in Central London were required to pay £5 if they drive between 7.00am to 6.30pm during the weekdays. This charge was increased in July 2005 to £8 in order to ease more congestion and raise more revenue to improve the transport system.

            The congestion charge was an idea of the London mayor as he had used it as a campaign strategy. He had promised people that if elected, he would ensure congestion will no longer be a problem in Central London as he was to introduce congestion charges.

            In order to be considerate with their charges, there were a few motorists who were exempted the charges and these included buses, licensed taxis, vehicle driven by disabled people, emergency vehicles and those vehicles that were using alternative fuel. The local residents were not spared either although they were given 90% discount of the congestion charges. [2]

Socio-economic Impact of Congestion Charge

            It was one of the best moves to introduce congestion charge in Central London in order to ease congestion and ensure there is efficient use of resources by consumers. If consumers are not charge for the services they use, they tend to use them unnecessarily. For this case, in an economist perspective, the introduction of congestion charge is seen as way of ensuring only vehicles that pay the congestion charge drive to the Central London in order to ease congestion. Drivers who have nothing important issue to do in Central London avoid these roads since they have to pay the congestion charge and this in turn help to reduce traffic congestion. For this case, we can say there is efficient use of the road by motorist thereby ensuring there are no traffic congestion and pollution problems in Central London. [3]

            The move to introduce London congestion price has really help to ease congestion in Central London. This is so because, Central London does not have a capacity for road expansions hence the move help ensure road usage in the area is utilised efficiently. There is also a lot demand of people who are travelling to the Central London and congestion charge was the only way to ensure that there is no traffic congestion in the area.

            In Central London, there are alternative mean of travelling since people can walk, use buses, taxis and subway services to reach their destination. For this case, the introduction of congestion charge in Central London would not have inconvenienced travellers since there was presence of other mode of transport people would use. [4]

Comparing the Social Aspects of the Congestion Charge Before and After

There has been a significant reduction of traffic congestion as a result of introduction of congestion charge. Before the introduction of congestion charge, many people travelled to Central London by use of their private vehicles. Since the introduction of congestion charge, this tread has charged significantly and majority of people are using public means of transport in order to avoid paying the congestion charge which was seen as an extra expense to their day to day expense.

In a typical weekday, over one million people enter Central London during the morning peak hour i.e. between 7.00am to10.00am. Most of these trips are made by public transport and it is approximated that 85% of them uses public transport. [5]

Before introduction of congestion charge, 12% of those who entered Central London used private vehicles but this percentage has reduced significantly as many people tend to use public means of transport instead of their private vehicles to avoid paying the congestion charge. [6]

When the congestion charge was introduced, traffic flow in Central London dropped significantly by about 20%. This was monitored in the first few month after introduction and this is actually the move the congestion charge was actually introduced to achieve. People were forced to charge their travel trend with those who used private vehicles using public means of transport. On the other hand, those who actually did not have a definite issue to do in Central London during peak hours visited the area during off peak hours in order to avoid the congestion charge. Many people had to change their mode of transport to Central London and started using motorcycles, taxis, pedal cycles and even walking. [7]

Travelling become so easy in Central London after the introduction of congestion charges as the average travelling speed increased by 38%. Before introduction of congestion charge, the average speed in Central London was just 8 miles per hour but this speed increased to 13 miles per hour after the introduction congestion charges. This really made travelling to be so easy unlike previously when travelling within Central London took much of the time. For this case, one is able to planned ahead and finish his or her businesses in Central London on time, unlike previously before congestion charge was introduced, the time one would take to travel within Central London was unpredictable. [8]

            Introduction of congestion charge helped to reduce traffic congestion in Central London and this in turn reduced congestion delay by bus to 50%. On the other hand, there was also a decline in peak period delay that was approximated to be about 30%.  Many People opted to use buses and there was significant increase in bus passengers that increased by 14%.  Others shifted to use other mode of services such as subway services instead of their private vehicles and this increased to about 1%.

Many celebrated the introduction of congestion charges in Central London especially those who benefited from the program. Those who had something to celebrate are those who used road transport system frequently like those involved in transport industry like buses or track driver. Their trips took shorter time to complete unlike before the introduction of congestion charge whereby it would take a little bit longer to complete one trip due to traffic congestion. [9]

            Others who had something to smile about after the introduction of congestion charge in Central London were those who lived in Central London. There was less environmental pollution in their surrounding as there were only a few vehicles entering Central London. Before the introduction of congestion charge, there was a lot of noise and air pollution in Central London.

            Those who felt that the introduction of congestion charges in Central London has inconvenienced their day to day activities were the retailers who sold their commodities in bulky. These businesses relied on customers who came to their premises driving their private vehicles. Sine the introduction of congestion charges, the number of private cars have reduced significantly in Central London and this has a negative impact in their businesses as they also have few customers. Majority of them were forced to close their businesses or even transform their businesses to deal with something else due to the problem of lack of customers. [10]

Facts And Figures of the Social Aspects of Central London Congestion Charge

Before the congestion charge was introduced in Central London, traffic level throughout the city was unacceptable. Throughout the day, there was no peak hour for traffic as the level of traffic was flat all through. Average speed level continued to decline as a result of traffic congestion in the city and for the case, there was need to introduce congestion charge in the city. This is illustrated in the table below.

Average speeds in London (miles per hour)

Morning peak period           Central area              Inner area
1974-1976                              14.2                            15.9
1980-1982                              12.1                            14.2
1986-1990                              11.5                            11.8
1994-1997                              10.9                            13.4
2000-2003                              9.9                               …

Daytime off-peak
1974-1976                              12.9                            18.6
1980-1982                              11.6                            17.2
1986-1990                              11.0                            14.6
1994-1997                              10.9                            15.0
2000-2003                              9.0                               …

Evening peak period
1974-1976                              13.2                            15.5
1980-1982                              12.2                            14.1
1986-1990                              11.0                            11.6
1994-1997                              10.8                            12.8
2000-2003                              9.6                                …

Source: Adapted from Department for Transport (2002)

Future of the London Congestion Charge and its Impact on Social Life

Since the introduction of congestion charge in Central London, there has been significant improvement in the road transport system. The traffic jams that delayed motorist from reaching their destination. Although there have been criticism by politicians and the business community on the congestion charge program, it has been a success. Many feel that traffic flow has since them improved through the city after the introduction of congestion charge. [11]

The transport system has improved significantly and it is continuing to improve day by day. This is as a result of introduction of congestion charge that is charge to all private vehicles that drive in Central London. The fees collected are in turn used to improve the transport system in London. Although the main aim of the congestion charge in to reduce traffic congestion in the area, the funds that are collect also plays an important role of improving the transport system in London. [12]

Many have argued that the congestion charge is hitting the poor people in the society more since they cannot afford the £8 that is charged by motorist that enter Central London. Others argue that there is no equality in the amount that is charged to motorist. The flat rate of £8 charge at any given motorist is unfair charge since the vehicles are supposed to be charged differently since they are of different capacity. [13]

In order to ensure the congestion charge in Central London continue gain popularity among the people, the rate of fee paid by private vehicles driving along Central London’s streets should reviewed in order to bring equality among motorists.

References

Department for Transport (2002): Transport Statistics Great Britain: 2002 Edition.

London: The Stationery Office

Dix, M. (2002): The Central London Congestion Charging Scheme, Paper to

Imprint-Europe 2nd Seminar, Brussels, 14/15 May, 2002

Flowerdew, A. D. (1993): Urban Traffic Congestion in Europe: Road Pricing

and Public Transport Demand, Research Report, The Economics

Intelligence Unit, London

Gaffron, P. (2002): The Implementation of Walking and Cycling in UK Local

Authorities. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Napier University, Edinburgh

Goodwin, P. B. (1989): The Rule of Three: A Possible Solution to the Political

Problem of Competing Objectives for Road Pricing’, Traffic Engineering

and Control, Vol. 30, N° 10, October, pp. 495-7.

Goodwin, P. B. (1990): How to Make Road Pricing Popular’, Economic

Affairs, Vol. 10, June-July, pp. 6-7.

Gunn, L. (1978): Why is Implementation so Difficult’, Management Services in

Government, Vol. 33, pp. 169-76.

Ison, S. (1996): Pricing Road Space: Back to the Future? The Cambridge

Experience’, Transport Reviews, Vol. 16, N° 2, pp. 109-126.

Ison, S. (2000): Local Authority and Academic Attitudes to Urban Road

Pricing: a UK Perspective’, 79th Transportation Research Board Annual

Meeting CD-Rom, Washington DC.

Ison, S. (1996): Pricing Road Space: Back to the Future? The Cambridge

Experience’, Transport Reviews, Vol. 16, N° 2, pp. 109-126

Lewis, N. C. (1994): Road Pricing: Theory and Practice, Thomas Telford

Services Ltd., London.

Odeck, J. and S. Bråthen (1997): On Public Attitudes Toward Implementation

of Toll Roads – The Case of Oslo Toll Ring’, Transport Policy, Vol. 4, N°

2, pp. 73-83.

Rye, T., Ison, S. and Santos, G. (2003): Implementing road pricing perfectly: will London

Confirm the theory? AET Conference Paper 2003, Retrieved from, http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/dae/people/santos/ETC2003.pdf, on April 5, 2007

Shaffer, B. and G. Santos (2004): Preliminary Results of the London congestion

Charging Scheme’, Transportation Research Record, forthcoming.

Starkie, D. (1986): Efficient and Politic Congestion Tolls’, Transportation

Research, Vol. 20A, N° 2, pp. 169-173

Transport for London (2002): Congestion Charging Report to the Mayor, Retried from

www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/cc_report_mayor.shtml, accessed on April 5, 2007

Transport for London (2003a): Congestion Charging, Retrieved from

www.cclondon.com, on April 5, 2007

Transport for London (2003b): Congestion Charging: Three months on

report’, June 2003, Retrieved from

www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/pdfdocs/congestion_charging/cc-three-monthreport.Pdf, on April 5, 2007

Transport for London (2003c): Congestion Charging: Penalties, Retrieved from

www.cclondon.com/penalties.shtml, on April 5, 2007

Transport for London (2003d): Public Transport Improvements – Before.

London: Transport for London, Retrieved from

www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/cc_improve_pt_before.shtm, April 5, 2007

[1] Rye, T., Ison, S. and Santos, G. (2003): Implementing road pricing perfectly: will London confirm the theory?: AET Conference Paper 2003, Retrieved from, http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/dae/people/santos/ETC2003.pdf, on April 5, 2007

[2] Transport for London (2003d): Public Transport Improvements – Before. London: Transport for London, Retrieved from www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/cc_improve_pt_before.shtm, April 5, 2007
[3] Rye, T., Ison, S. and Santos, G. (2003): Implementing road pricing perfectly: will London confirm the theory?: AET Conference Paper 2003, Retrieved from, http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/dae/people/santos/ETC2003.pdf, on April 5, 2007

[4] Transport for London (2003c): Congestion Charging: Penalties, Retrieved from www.cclondon.com/penalties.shtml, on April 5, 2007
[5] Transport for London (2003d): Public Transport Improvements – Before. London: Transport for London, Retrieved from www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/cc_improve_pt_before.shtm, April 5, 2007
[6] Shaffer, B. and G. Santos (2004): Preliminary Results of the London congestion

Charging Scheme’, Transportation Research Record, forthcoming
[7] Transport for London (2003d): Public Transport Improvements – Before. London: Transport for London, Retrieved from www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/cc_improve_pt_before.shtm, April 5, 2007
[8] Rye, T., Ison, S. and Santos, G. (2003): Implementing road pricing perfectly: will London confirm the theory?: AET Conference Paper 2003, Retrieved from, http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/dae/people/santos/ETC2003.pdf, on April 5, 2007
[9] Rye, T., Ison, S. and Santos, G. (2003): Implementing road pricing perfectly: will London confirm the theory?: AET Conference Paper 2003, Retrieved from, http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/dae/people/santos/ETC2003.pdf, on April 5, 2007

[10] Rye, T., Ison, S. and Santos, G. (2003): Implementing road pricing perfectly: will London confirm the theory?: AET Conference Paper 2003, Retrieved from, http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/dae/people/santos/ETC2003.pdf, on April 5, 2007

[11] Transport for London (2003c): Congestion Charging: Penalties, Retrieved from www.cclondon.com/penalties.shtml, on April 5, 2007
[12] Transport for London (2003c): Congestion Charging: Penalties, Retrieved from www.cclondon.com/penalties.shtml, on April 5, 2007
[13] Transport for London (2003b): Congestion Charging: Three months on report’, June 2003, Retrieved from www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/pdfdocs/congestion_charging/cc-three-monthreport.Pdf, on April 5, 2007

 

Haven't found the Essay You Want?

Get your custom essay sample

For Only $13/page