Central London Congestion Charging Scheme Conversion Strategies
The city of London is well-known for its many historic sites, live theater, and heavy traffic. Despite a sophisticated underground subway system known locally as the “tube,” traffic delays, car exhaust, noise pollution, and vehicle–pedestrian accidents have plagued Londoners for decades. After long deliberation, London’s city government adopted the Central London Congestion Charging Scheme. This plan involved establishing a toll perimeter around London’s center. Rather than stopping cars to collect tolls, however, London set up video cameras at each toll zone crossing. These cameras link to a billing system that charges each vehicle’s registered owner a one-day access toll with same-day reentrance privileges. The steep toll, approximately $8, discourages vehicle traffic into London’s city center. Londoners who live within the toll zone receive a special discount, as do residents living near the toll zone boundary, certain government workers, and businesses operating fleets of vehicles. Tolls remain in effect during working hours on workdays. Car owners have until the end of the day to pay their toll through e-mail, SMS messaging, telephone, Web site, or kiosk. The tolls have resulted in a significant decrease in automobile traffic, increased use of mass transit, fewer accidents, and faster driving times. The tolls have had a negligible effect on business operations and most residents. They have also generated significant revenue that London uses to maintain the system andenhance public transportation. Consider the massive work involved in educating the public, marking all streets entering the toll zone, setting up cameras, and building the information systems. The information systems alone must process the raw images, match license plates to a payment database, receive payments, send out nonpayment notices, and process appeals. Police also use the system’s databases for a variety of law enforcement–related work.
a) Briefly describe the advantages and disadvantages of each conversion strategy (parallel, pilot, phased, and plunge) as they apply to the central London Congestion Charging Scheme project.
b) Which conversion strategy would you recommend for this project?