Stockholm votes YES to congestion charge, but…
Residents from Stockholm’s 461 municipalities voted in a referendum, on 17 September 2006, about the controversial traffic-control system tested in the city centre over a period of seven months. A 53% majority voted in favour of the proposal as 46% voted against.
The charging scheme would impose charges ranging from €1 to €2.10 each time car-drivers cross the city’s congestion zone on weekdays between 6:30 am and 6:29 pm.
The seven-month trial period between 3 January 2006 and 31 July 2006 has had significant impacts:
- The traffic has decreased by 22%, largely over the initial objective of 10 to 15%. This represents around 100,000 passages less per day over the charge cordon. Moreover, the impact on traffic seems to be sustainable as the traffic level remained significantly below measured traffic in the past years.
- The number of accidents where people were injured have fallen by 5 to 10%
- The local pollution decreased by 9-15%
Consultation organised in the neighbouring cities however led to a majority of votes against the project. The trial has been initiated by the incumbent government without full agreement of Stockholm municipality.
However, Stockholm municipality announced it would follow the results of the vote. As the national elections that took place on the same day led to a new government, the future of the project remains uncertain however.