Public Economics

Making roads safer and raising revenue

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Science  11 Mar 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6278, pp. 1163-1164
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6278.1163-e

London's congestion tax led to fewer traffic accidents

PHOTO: © BJANKA KADIC/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Road space is not infinite, and drivers impose costs on other travelers by delaying or hitting them. The London congestion charge instituted in 2003 makes those costs visible to drivers, who can then decide whether to pay it. As expected, congestion did diminish within central London, and travel by alternative means of transport, such as bicycles, increased. The declining trend in accidents and fatalities from 2000 to 2009 has made it difficult to identify the precise effect of the congestion charge. Now Green et al. use a weighted aggregate of Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, and Liverpool to calculate that there are 28 fewer accidents per month, 43 fewer serious accidents per year, and 4.3 fewer fatalities per year in central London.

J. Pub. Econ. 133, 11 (2016).

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