This week, London debuted its ultra-low-emission zone, meaning vehicles that do not meet low-emission standards will now have to pay an extra fee to access its city center.
Although the city introduced congestion pricing over a decade ago, charging all vehicles a daily fee to enter its central business district, ULEZ rules will add an additional fee of £12.50 per day (about $16) for people driving what are deemed polluting vehicles, including most cars made before 2006. That means people driving polluting vehicles into London will have to pay both the ULEZ charge and the regular congestion charge, up to £24 per day (about $31).
The new policy is intended to not only reduce traffic congestion, but also dramatically reduce emissions and pollutants. According to estimates supplied by Mayor Sadiq Khan’s office, the policy could decrease emissions by almost half.
“Thousands of motorists have already started to change their behavior as they prepare for ULEZ by driving less polluting vehicles into the area, and using cleaner transport alternatives including walking or cycling, and public transport,” said Khan.
Road pricing isn’t the only way to encourage low-emission transportation modes. In London, the city is using the funds to deploy transformations that incentivize low-carbon travel, including pedestrianizing its historic center and spending $1 billion on bike infrastructure.
As New York City becomes the first U.S. city to implement congestion pricing, it’s a good time to look at how two smaller American cities are trying to encourage their own shifts from fossil fuel-powered vehicles to cleaner transportation methods.
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