Traffic congestion in Hanover, northern Germany



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This is an archived article published in March 2004
German Greens call for city
tolls to reduce road traffic
By James Monaghan, Feature Editor

After the success of London's congestion charge, which celebrated its first anniversary in February 2004, the idea is catching on in Europe, and particularly in Germany. Green party members throughout the country are pressing for its introduction. As reported in the national Sunday tabloid, "Bild am Sonntag", the Green Party's traffic spokesman, Albert Schmidt, is quoted as saying that the figures in London prove that what he calls the 'city toll' has been a great success. He proposes that big cities in Germany where the amount of traffic in the centre is especially high, ought to consider whether a similar system should be introduced.

According to Mr Schmidt, income from the charge would put money into empty city treasuries. The money could be directed to public transport in the cities, but also other areas that are suffering especially badly from the current budgetary difficulties experienced by most German cities. He specifically mentions schools, libraries, and public swimming pools.

In Munich, the leader of the Green Party on the City Council, Sabine Krieger, points out that Stockholm already plans to follow London’s example in 2005, and that, since there are serious traffic problems in several areas of Munich, a charging regime would be particularly appropriate.

The leader of the Transnet trade union and chairman of the 'Alliance for Rail', Norbert Hansen, praised London’s £5 congestion charge in the same newspaper and pointed out that there had been a reduction in traffic jams, road accidents and that the people welcomed the measure. He said that cities like Frankfurt am Main or Cologne with particularly high problems with traffic jams would find a charge would help them get to grips with their problems.






London’s congestion charge cuts traffic jams by 30 per cent
Six months after London Mayor Ken Livingstone introduced a central London congestion charging system, road traffic in the centre of the UK capital has eased considerably more than supporters and critics of the scheme predicted when it was launched in February 2003. Under the scheme, private car drivers entering central London pay a daily fee of five pounds (eight dollars). During the first six months of implementation, the London congestion charge helped reduce traffic congestion by some 30 per cent, with the number of motor vehicles entering the charge zone down by 16 per cent. More