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Bath Community Congestion Charge

Traffic congestion in Bath is a major problem that impacts on the local economy, the environment, the community and the infrastructure. At the same time much of the traffic to Bath brings visitors and workers to the City to ensure it thrives, or is essential local journeys undertaken by the community. However, Bath also suffers from through and extraneous traffic, which makes no contribution to the City but for which the City pays the cost in terms of environmental impact.

Callidus has examined this issue and looked at ways that the demand for traffic might be controlled. Amongst the ideas is to apply some kind of fiscal (monetary) measure that seeks to charge drivers an amount that better reflects the external costs of their journey making. In so doing, the demand for trips is likely to reduce, or the cost of making the trip compensates for the impact that the trip is having.

The concept is shown in the graph below. A charge is made to existing trips (Q) such that demand decreases to a level that is equal to the social cost of travel supply. This happens at a lower number of trips (Q*) .

Map showing potential charging points located on the bridge crossings over the River Avon 
To deliver the scheme, charging points are located to coincide with the crossing points of the River Avon. This is different in concept to the charging ‘zone’ of the London system. Charges could be varied by time of day and by vehicle type and would apply when you cross one of the bridges over the River Avon. The charging system would use vehicle registration plates as with the London System, to pay for and enforce the charging system.

An important aspect of this charging scheme is that residents of Bath would be ‘shareholders’ in the system. Residents would receive an annual dividend from the revenue generated by the scheme. This payment would reflect the detrimental environmental impacts on the community of traffic congestion in the City. A progressive payment could be made that is inversely proportional to the Council Tax band of a property.

The system could be linked to the car park payment systems such that passing through a charging point would give rise to a discount on the car parking charge.
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