Road Rationing: a fairer option to Congestion Charging.

The £billions of road infrastructure investment has been paid for by all of us through taxes. A Congestion Charge will drive the poor off their roads, thus allowing solely the rich to enjoy that investment. It would take a century or more for any charges to cover the sunk cost of our roads.

Road Rationing can be a fairer and more nuanced system. Road use permits could be allocated fairly according to various criteria such as need, entitlement and time-of-day. The number of permits can be set to ensure optimum road use throughout the day. People could trade their permits freely, thus rewarding those who make fewer journeys, move their journey to a low demand time, or use other transport options.

Like Congestion Charging, the system would use mobile and internet technology to allow easy issuing and trading of the permits.

Road Rationing could be implemented phase by phase. For example: piloted on the Science Park distributor road, then the Addenbrooke’s site, then City Centre. Schemes for permit allocation can be tested, and refined to ensure fairness and optimal road use.

  • Permits could be used to limit city pollution by limiting numbers of diesel and petrol-engined vehicles.
  • Permits could be allocated to businesses, hospitals, etc., as well as individuals.
  • Permits could encouraging delivery consolidation.

There is no single magic bullet for solving transportation in Cambridgeshire, but we should ensure access to transport is fair, as well as efficient and effective.

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