Jonas Eliasson, Director of the Centre for Transport Studies at Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology, devoted his recent TEDx talk to Stockholm’s successful experiment with congestion pricing. As we’ve mentioned before, Stockholm’s introduction of congestion pricing offers a valuable lesson about meta-rules — rules for changing the rules.
Stockholm had residents try the congestion pricing system for seven months (along with expanded bus service) before voting on whether to adopt the system permanently. Before the trial, a majority of residents opposed the charge. Afterwards, a majority voted in favor. As Eliasson points out, the approval rates have only increased since the system was put in place in 2007. In other cities where congestion pricing would significantly enhance the efficiency of the traffic system, this “try before you buy” approach may be the key to voter buy-in.
Hat tip to Eric Jaffe at The Atlantic Cities blog.