What are the Health Benefits of Congestion Pricing?

Congestion Pricing, Air Pollution, and Urban Health (11 page pdf, Emilia Simeonova, Janet Currie, Peter Nilsson and Reed Walker, American Economics Association Meeting, Chicago, Jan. 2017)

Also discussed here: Driving Fee Rolls Back Asthma Attacks in Stockholm (Nala Rogers, Inside Science. Feb. 2, 2017)

Today we review research on the impact of the introduction of congestion pricing in Stockholm, in 2006, and the reduction of traffic that followed on the health of children in that city. Pollution levels in that city are lower than EPA’s standards. Results indicate that the pricing system caused a drop in traffic volumes by 25%, reductions in NO2 and particulate (PM10) pollution of 5 and 10% and a reduction in asthma cases by 12% in the first  seven months which increased to 45% over the longer term (several years). While the benefits in other cities with fewer diesel vehicles (emitting PM) may not be as great, it is clear that there are benefits even when the air quality in a given city (such as Ottawa) is considered “good” and that there are negative health impacts that begin at lower thresholds than EPA standards project.

stockholm-congestion-health

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How Will We Get Around Town in 30 years and What Obstacles Need to be Overcome?

What will the local transport system look like in 2045? The future local transport system (David Levinson, Transportist, Dec.19, 2016)

Also discussed here: What key factors do you see driving these changes over the next 30 years? (David Levinson, Transportist, Dec.19, 2016)

And here: Future Demand – New Zealand transport and society: Scenarios to 2042 (23 page pdf, New Zealand Government, Nov. 2014)

Today we review an interview on the future local transportation with Marcus Enoch by David Levinson and a report looking ahead to 2042 as part of New Zealand project PT2045. Enoch sees the automation of vehicles, their conversion to electric and the rise of shared mobility, as opposed to owning a vehicle, as the three most important changes. There will be a lot more single passenger, two wheeled e-cars and goods will be delivered by robot cars. Manually driven cars on public roads will be prohibited in 25 years. Urban congestion will end before 2042 with fewer, if any, private vehicles on the road. Carbon emissions will fall dramatically.

nz-scenarios-for-2042

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What is Needed to Limit Global Climate Warming to 1.5C Using a Scenario Approach?

A Better Life with a Healthy Planet – Pathways to Net-Zero Emissions, A New Lens Scenarios Supplement (96 page pdf, Shell, May 2016)

Today we review a supplement to the Shell scenarios published in 2013 that examined steps toward a net zero energy future. The Shell scenario team became famous for their contributions to determining post-apartheid options for South Africa after 1990. It is a scoping document, starting with an estimate of the energy needs of the world in 2100 “for a better life”, based on a 50% population increase and a lowering of energy demand per person from as much as 300 gigajoules in USA/Canada to 100 GJ per person, as a world average – which amounts to a doubling of the global energy needs.

To accomplish this by 2050 and meet the Paris goal of limiting warming to 1.5 C, would require net zero emissions by that year and that, in turn, would require some form of negative carbon reduction, using technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) which would mean lowering its current high cost to around $30 per tonne by 2030- equivalent to wind power costs. Carbon pricing is seen as an absolute necessity to bring solar energy up to 40% of energy needs by 2060. It also requires 80% of passenger cars converted to electricity by 2030 and, in terms of land use, reducing drastically the amount of agricultural land used for feeding animals from the current 80%. For developing countries, investment in infrastructure and adapting to a solar society would allow them to leap-frog to net zero emissions as well.

energy-future

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How well did London’s Congestion Charge Perform?

London Congestion Pricing – Implications for Other Cities (5 page pdf, Todd Litman, CESifo DICE Report 3/2005, Mar. 2005)

Today we review a paper that assessed the performance of the London Congestion Charge after it had operated for 2 years. The winners include bus and taxi users, pedestrians and cyclists  and motorists with high value trips and most city centre businesses with congestion delays reduced reduced by 50% and net annual revenue of 97 million UK pounds to support transit/pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. Losers include motorists with marginal value trips and riders and motorists in border areas who a 10% increase in  spillover traffic (but no more delay because of proactive action to adjust traffic signals).  The London congestion charging system was a first for Europe and probably stimulated similar initiatives in Stockholm, Sweden Trondheim, Norway and Singapore in Asia.

london-cong-ch

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A Congestion Charge for Downtown Toronto: An Analysis

Revenue Options Study: Cordon Congestion Charges (185 page pdf, KPMG for City of Toronto, Jun. 2016)

Also discussed here: Report lays out hundreds of millions in potential new tax dollars for Toronto (Jeff Gray, Toronto Globe and Mail, Jun. 21, 2016)

Today we review a report by KPMG for the City of Toronto in which the option of a morning rush hour congestion charge is considered in the Toronto downtown south of the 401 between Bathurst and Bayview. Another road pricing option:applying a toll on the Don Valley Expressway is not included in this study and is being considered separately. A daily charge of $5 to $20 at each cordon would yield up to $377M/year in net revenue with 33% overhead. This in turn would cost the average household in Toronto $120 /year with 35% of the revenue coming from visitors.

The overall conclusion: “In general, a cordon charge would have a positive impact by reducing traffic, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing transit ridership.” and “The net revenue from cordon charges should have a high degree of stability in the long-term.” Implementation costs for congestion charges are high enough to consider as well the option of increasing parking rates in the downtown which would bring in similar revenues (and this seems to be favoured by the Mayor).

English: Toronto Downtown Core, at nite from C...
English: Toronto Downtown Core, at nite from CN Tower. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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All about Carbon Pricing: Carbon Tax? Cap and Trade?

Putting a Price on Carbon: A Handbook for U.S. Policymakers (56 Page pdf, Kevin Kennedy, Michael Obeiter, And Noah Kaufman, World Resources Institute, Apr. 2015

Today we review a handbook to implement carbon pricing– either by tax or by cap and trade– in the USA. Among the points noted were that a low to moderate tax alone would be “highly unlikely” to meet the UN’s goal of keeping global warming to less than 2 C (as recommended by 195 states at COP21 in Paris). Technological innovations subsidized by government are also needed and these can be funded from carbon tax revenue as well as other benefits such as tax cuts, return of money to households and electric users, and helping those directly harmed by carbon taxes as well as reducing national debt. Canada and the USA are well behind Scandinavian countries (such as Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, beginning in the early 1990s)  to establish a national carbon tax, although at the sub-national level,  California and Western states, British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec have started to price carbon in recent years. Another interesting point is that a moderate carbon tax of $28/tonne applied to the USA would impact low income earners by 2.5% (and high earners by only 1%). This identifies the need to neutralize the regression effects by subsidizing the low income group by this amount.

carbon pricing basics

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What are the Best Incentives to Buy an Electric Car?

Incentives for promoting Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) adoption in Norway (12 page pdf, Kristin Ystmark Bjerkan, Tom E. Nørbech, Marianne Elvsaas Nordtømme, Transportation Research Part d 43, ScienceDirect, Jan. 14, 2016)

Also discussed here: What are the most effective ways of promoting electric cars?  (Science for Environment Policy, European Commission, Apr. 22, 2016)

Today we review research on which incentives are the most effective in selling battery electric (BEV) cars based on a survey of Norwegians. The survey analysis considered low and high income levels, the differing impacts of reduced (or subsidized) cost at purchase to ongoing costs and benefits such as exemption from tolls. The typical Norwegian owner of an e-car is male, aged 36-55, high income, university education and living in the capital (Oslo). The single biggest factor was the initial purchase price (with discounts), followed by (exemptions from) congestion or road pricing, followed by free access to bus lanes. This supports the tactics used by governments in countries, such as Canada, in offering significant discounts for new e-car purchases and less emphasis on using exemptions from road tolls (even though road pricing is much less used and there are far fewer electric cars on the road in this country compared to Norway).

ecar incentives

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