Wednesday 15 December 2010

Is Jakarta about to introduce congestion charging?

According to a report from Vivanews, a draft regulation of the Jakarta Municipality will authorise the introduction of congestion charging in the Indonesian capital, apparently based on the successful Singapore Electronic Road Pricing model (ERP).   The law apparently grants exemptions for emergency vehicles and buses, but would authorise charging of cars, trucks, taxis and motorcycles.  

It is unclear how the scheme will proceed, but it appears to target specific roads.  Charges will vary according to time of day and will apparently range

"between Rp 15,000 (US$1.6) and Rp 30,000 (US$3.3) for cars".

Another report indicates that the congestion charging scheme will be integrated with other ITS projects, including interoperability with other Indonesian toll roads and electronic ticketing systems for public transport.

Jakarta is a heavily populated metropolitan area.  The city itself has a population of over 9.5 million people, but the greater Jakarta metropolitan area has a population of over 23 million.   Congestion is severe in the city, and the government is committed to addressing this through a combination of road building, major public transport infrastructure expansion and regulatory measures.

It is already illegal to have less than 3 people per private car on certain roads in Jakarta at peak times, effectively making those roads entirely HOV roads, the intention is to replace this law with the charge.

Jakarta has wisely embarked on a high quality bus rapid transit network as well as metro rail, which is proving successful, although a key issue for the city is the dominance of walking as a transport mode.   There is little interest in shifting people from walking to public transport, but rather from driving to public transport.

It is expected that DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communications) will be used, with ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) used for enforcement.  The Jakarta Post is supportive, mainly because congestion is so severe and Indonesia sees the success story of Singapore on its doorstep.  Berita Jakarta reports that the revenue will be new, and will benefit the city.  The question is what the money will be used for, as there is strong support for continued spending on improving the city's road and public transport infrastructure.

From my perspective it is good to see Jakarta embracing the Singaporean approach of targeting congestion by location and time.   It is far more likely to gain support, and will generate more economic benefits that the blunt approach of London and slightly less blunt approach of Stockholm (and proposed blunt approach of San Francisco).   Targeting by time encouraging time shifting of trips when the road has more capacity.  Targeting by location allows other parts of the network (if appropriate) to get better utilisation.  Together it has made the Singapore system still the most advanced from a policy perspective in managing traffic flows.

It is a shame policy makers in Europe and North America still look to London and Stockholm, when the real pioneer - Singapore - has been operating a more sophisticated (and effective) system for longer.

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