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Congestion Charging Will Not Solve Traffic Problems in Cities


02 Oct 2009



The Eurocouncil of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) raises its concerns at the approach taken by the European Commission with regard to urban traffic congestion following the adoption of the Action Plan on Urban Mobility.

While we believe that some of the proposals presented today can help municipalities improve the mobility of their city dwellers we remain unconvinced about the effects of traffic congestion charges directed at the private car. “Deficient urban planning cannot be sweetened by a ban or a charge” said Werner Kraus, FIA Eurocouncil Chairman, reacting to the presented Action Plan.

It is a fact of life in modern Europe that the car plays a major role in urban transport. It offers citizens unrivalled levels of efficiency, convenience and comfort. Several cities have nevertheless opted for restrictive measures such as city tolls or temporary closures of city centres for cars in view to redress shortcomings of mobility policies from past years. Demand management measures in the form of the congestion charging schemes, such as those implemented in cities like London and Stockholm, have on the longer term proven not to bring the expected relief. Placing restrictions on mobility for the individual or increasing its cost will not improve the citizens' quality of life nor enhance economic development.

A more sustainable strategy to address the endemic congestion problems of cities would look at the structure of cities as a whole and at the individual needs of its citizens. This needs to happen at local and regional level.