Road pricing is a form of demand management that has become accepted as a policy measure to combat pollution and congestion. It is an effective measure because motorists are encouraged to change their habits by travelling at different times and routes, or switch to public or non-motorized transport. Road pricing is a tool to reduce congestion and the need for new and wider roads, thereby improving air quality and standards of health.
Case Study: The Central London Congestion Charging Scheme charges drivers of vehicles to pay to travel within the Congestion Charging zone. The principal is to reduce congestion in central London by encouraging drivers to switch from using private cars to other modes of transportation. The initial traffic and congestion reductions led to overall CO2 reductions of 16 percent inside the charging zone, a reduction of emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) of eight percent and fine particulate matter (PM10) of six percent.
Less Energy Intensive Travel
A solution for combating climate change and local air pollution include shifting passenger journeys from personal vehicles to public transportation, walking and cycling. This can be done through building compact communities that prioritize the greener forms of transportation. For longer distance journeys, shifting passengers and freight from road and air to rail and sea transport is to be considered a key policy objective.
Some challenges with these solutions include keeping prices low enough as to maintain access for the lower class, as well as improving the quality enough to persuade the rising middle class to utilize public instead of personal transportation.
Case Study: The Bogota Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a great example as to how to increase the use of public transportation. BRT is very accessible, quick and convenient. There is a dedicated lane for the buses, easy online trip planning, free feeder buses to BRT hubs, and cycle parks near main stations to allow for easy integration between different green modes of transportation. This bus consumes less fuel per passenger kilometers than a car does, therefore decreasing emissions, and is more convenient to use.
Reducing the Need to Travel
Expanding the size of roads to compensate for a growing number of vehicles is not decreasing the amount of emissions released. To mitigate climate change, reducing to need to travel, as opposed to opening up additional opportunities for it, should be the focus. By locating shops, businesses, schools and services close to high-density residential developments, the easily-accessible local facilities can reduce travel demand, introducing greater possibilities for walking and cycling. Limiting the available parking capacity near well-established public transportation can also reduce the need to travel by personal vehicle.
Case Study: A study of Boston in the US found that doubling the building density there would reduce traffic by 10%.