Friday, 22 July 2011

Luxembourg city Mayor rules out congestion charging for now

Some of us working in the road pricing field are always looking to see if largely ignored countries or cities might be considering introducing some form of pricing.  The fact that Valletta, Malta and Znojmo, Czech Republic both have forms of urban road pricing is more often than not ignored.  So what about Luxembourg?  One of the smallest independent countries in Europe, surrounded by fellow Schengen area countries, it is difficult to determine exactly where you enter and exit the country, as there are no border controls or remnants of border controls.

In 2010, Luxembourg city was rated the 10th most congested city in Europe by satellite navigation provider TomTom. The key reason being that Luxembourg (the country) has the highest per capita car ownership in the world, yet a third of Luxembourg city households are car free.

In an interview with website 352LuxMag, Mayor Paul Helminger says that 40% of car trips in the city are for journeys of less than 2 km. The city’s strategy to reduce congestion has been to reduce car parks, reserve parking for residents and promote walking. Five park and ride facilities have also been built linking to rail and bus services, with two more to be built. Trams are being reintroduced to the city after an absence of fifty years.

However, when asked about congestion charging, the Mayor said no. He believed that if people simply were more aware that they need not use a car to get around, it would manage congestion “for a while”. In short, other measures have not yet been tried sufficiently to take such a politically bold step!

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