Authorities look at congestion charges

Auckland Council have been updated after phase one of the Auckland Smarter Transport Pricing Project was given to them last week.
Known as the Congestion Question, the project is a joint initiative between the Government and Auckland Council to understand whether or not congestion pricing is right for Auckland, and what it might look like as a way to influence travel demand and ease congestion.
The project is being undertaken in three phases. Phase One concluded that Auckland’s congestion has worsened over recent years, and is expected to become more widespread and that there is a strong case for continuing to investigate if congestion pricing is right for Auckland.
Congestion pricing is a method used to ease congestion by charging road users at different times and/or locations to encourage some users to change the time, route or way in which they travel.
A pricing scheme would more accurately reflect where the cost of using the roads is higher, thereby encouraging them to think about travelling in different ways. ‘Even a small reduction in traffic can have a big impact on congestion,’ the report said.
Councillor Chris Darby, Planning Committee chair, says that Auckland’s congestion issues have been talked about for years and there is a significant need to progress solutions more quickly.
“We are seeing dramatic change with worsening congestion in a short time. Four years ago Auckland’s population was estimated to reach two million people by 2035, but with rapid growth this is now expected by 2028.
“This latest report tells us that congestion levels are rising at alarming rates with people spending an additional 40 to 55 per cent longer sitting in traffic.
“We need to look at the suitability of congestion pricing thoroughly, comprehensively and with the input and views of Aucklanders on what they think”, said Councillor Darby.
The next two phases of the project will evaluate different pricing options before reaching a recommendation on whether or not it should be introduced and what it might look like. Phase two is expected to conclude by August 2018. More information can be found on the Ministry of Transport’s web page. What are you thoughts? yana@thepost.nz

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