OECD/ITF Joint Transport Research Centre Discussion Paper 2010-5
In January 2006, a system for congestion charging was introduced in the city of Stockholm, Sweden. The charging scheme was run in the form of a full scale trial for seven months, after which it was deactivated, awaiting its evaluation and an advisory public referendum. Several parties, including representatives of the scientific community as well as media and special interest groups, have analysed and evaluated the system. A recurring theme in several of these analyses is that the cost to build and operate the system was excessive, compared to costs for other road charging installations. This study revisits some of the key project participants and archive data, to provide a deeper understanding of what were the major cost drivers and whether it can be lower in future installations. The approach taken is to emphasise understanding of the particular circumstances rather than comparing aggregates with other seemingly similar systems. A main conclusion is that the political context, with a tight time plan and very high political risks for all involved, were key factors for the eventual costs of establishing the system.