Key Elements of the Congestion Charging Option
- Creation of a charging zone in Cambridge, similar to the London scheme
- Peak period charging (7-10 am and 3.30-6.30 pm) of 3.50 per day for
vehicles entering of leaving the zone
- For car-use by Cambridge residents within the cordon, at peak periods
there would be a charge of 50p per day
- No charge for cars entering edge locations in Cambridge, such as park and
ride site, Addenbrookes, etc
Click here for enlarged map of charge area
The proposed Congestion Charging Option may reduce the economic prosperity of
the Cambridge Sub-region, unless accompanied by other complementary measures.
The increases in transport costs affect household living cost, which in turn
affect the salary costs of employers.
Cambridge employers find great difficulties in attracting labour, and with
the introduction of the congestion charge, it would make recruitment even more
difficult. Central area retailers would also be affected, as fewer customers
would be prepared to drive into Cambridge to patronise the shops.
It is estimated that local employers that trade outside the Sub-region,
(exporters), especially those in the City of Cambridge, will face an increase
in production costs of 160 million per annum. This is much more than the
collected tolls and it is due to an increase in housing costs within the
charging area. The increase in housing prices, transport cost, and salaries
demanded by employees lead to higher prices that result in increased costs to
exporters. If they are able to pass-on the increases to their customers, it may
not affect the Sub-region economy, but there is certainly a risk of losing
market share and thus production. If, as is more likely, the exporters were
unable to pass the increase to their customers, they would suffer a reduction in
However, the higher revenues for the local authorities operating the system
would somewhat compensate for the increase in the cost of production. It all
depends on how the surplus revenue is spent. The revenues can be used by a local
authority to invest in transport improvements, such as better public transport.
If people believe that the local authorities would use the money more wisely
than individuals, the charging programme may be acceptable.
However, it should be noted that current legislation only guarantees that
local authorities can use this revenue for investment in local transport
improvements for 10 years. After that, the Treasury is able to keep the
From the social point of view, this option would penalise the high and middle
income groups. The higher income socio-economic group of professional and
managers will be worse off in terms of cash, but compensated in terms of
reduction in travel time.
Lower income socio-economic groups are less affected, as they tend to live
within the City in social housing and travel less by car. They may experience
some benefits in terms of improvement in public transport performance. However,
those low income people who do need to drive into Cambridge during peak periods
would be adversely affected because the toll would be a larger proportion of
their disposable income, than for higher income groups.
It would improve environmental sustainability with an overall 9% reduction in
carbon emissions and fuel consumption, and less local air pollution.
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- Car traffic reduces substantially with fewer trips into Cambridge and
- Public transport use increases
- Walking and cycling increases
- Environmental very positive with less local air pollution, and lower
- Cost of living and production costs increase making the Sub-region less
- Investment costs is small and the revenues from the charge produces a
large overall transport economic benefit, but drivers are heavily penalised
with few alternatives offered to them