The Stockholm congestion charging system – an overview of the effects after six months

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

policy - congestion


The Stockholm congestion charging system went live Jan 3rd 2006, being the third dedicated urban congestion charging system in the world (after Singapore and London). What sets it apart is that the system is only a “trial” – albeit a full-scale one, with essentially no compromises compared to what a permanent system would look like. The system consists of a cordon around the city center, with a time-varying charge being levied for each crossing in any direction. The charged area covers around 30 sq.km – roughly 50% larger than the London charging area. The charge is levied 6:30-18:30, and varies between 10 and 20 SEK. The “Stockholm trial” consists, apart from the charging scheme, of a large investments in buses from the suburbs to the inner city. This paper concentrates on the effects on travel behaviour, car traffic and car travel times and public transit patronage and travel times and public opinion. At the time of writing, the system has been in place for three weeks, and the main effects can be summarised as: - Traffic over the cordon has dropped around 25% - Congestion have decreased much more than expected; near the cordon (where congestion was highest), 80-90% of the queues are gone. Further out from the cordon there are also large effects, with around 50% less queues (measured as "additional travel time"). - Most of the “missing” car drivers appear to have switched to public transit, corresponding to an increase in public transit ridership of abour 10-15%. - Traffic has not increased as much as expected on Essingeleden (the non-charged, bypass road that is the only non-charged road between southern and northern Stockholm) - in fact, it has barely increased at all. - Public opinion appears to be switching from generally negative to cautiously positive (caused by the very apparent drop in congestion), but no certain numbers are in yet. These and many other effects are being closely monitored throughout the trial period, which ends July 31st. A referendum will follow in September which will determine the fate of the charging system. The presentation intends to summarise the effects from a number of evaluation projects, including car flows, travel times, travel behaviour, public opinion, air quality etc. Effects are also compared with the forecasts carried out a few years in advance.


Permission to publish abstract given by AET.