Traffic in the Swedish city of Gothenburg has decreased since the city introduced new congestion charges. Official figures showed that traffic in the city has decreased by 23 percent in the first two weeks since the programme went into force.In addition, the number of cars passing through toll locations during the daytime has gone down by about 19 percent, according to the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket).
Officially lunched on 1 January, the scheme requires motorists to pay a fee for trips in and out of the city centre between 06:00 and 18:29 on weekdays. Rates range from SEK 8-18 (EUR 0.92 – 2.08), with the higher fees levied during peak travel hours, whilst weekends and evening/early morning hours are excluded from the charge. City officials said that the programme was designed to reduce pollution in Gothenburg and ease congestion.
Prior to the launch of the scheme, many residents and officials expressed concern that it would lead to an increase in congestion outside of peak hours, particularly on weekends. However, the latest statistics show a six percent decline in off-peak travel since the start of the New Year.
Analyst Ulla-Stina Ingemarsson from the Swedish Transport Administration told the media, “We didn’t have a prognosis for the weekends. Weekend traffic wasn’t monitored in Stockholm when they introduced the congestion charge so we didn’t know what to expect,” The Local news agency reports.