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Tackling congestion on our roads - managing demand

Road congestion is one of the most serious transport problems we face as a country. It's bad for motorists, bad for business and bad for the environment. 
Congestion poses a very real long-term economic threat. If left unchecked it could cost us an extra £22 billion a year in wasted time by 2025, in England alone.
Our strategy on congestion is clear. Our focus right now must be on addressing the congestion challenges we all recognise - clogged up cities and stop-start motorways - with measures we can get on with quickly. We have published Roads - Delivering Choice and Reliability which sets out in detail our strategy for tackling congestion. Alongside this we have also published the Highways Agency Major Roads Programme: Updated Scheme Cost Estimates.
That is why we have made funding available to tackle congestion in our cities through a whole package of measures that includes better buses, trams and cycling facilities as well as congestion charging (see Transport Innovation Fund).
On our motorways we are considering a range of traffic management tools including single tolled lanes where new capacity is being added (see Expanding Choice and Cutting Congestion on our Motorways).
It would be unwise to rule out national road pricing in the long term, but there are real practical issues which need to be overcome - such as technology challenges and personal privacy.

In May 2007 we announced that we will run a series of demonstration projects to explore these issues in practice, testing new systems and technology (see Road Pricing Demonstrations Project).

But it is unrealistic to think of taking decisions in the next 5-6 years on whether or not to proceed with a national road pricing scheme.

Roads - Delivering choice and reliability (2 Mb)

This command paper sets out a clear strategy for getting the best out of our roads in the coming years so people have the reliable journeys they want.

16 July 2008

Roads - Delivering choice and reliability (MS Word version) (1 Mb)

This command paper sets out a clear strategy for getting the best out of our roads in the coming years so people have the reliable journeys they want.

16 July 2008

Highways Agency Major Roads Programme: Updated Scheme Cost Estimates (421 kb)

This paper sets out the new cost estimates that the Highways Agency (HA) has produced for all schemes in its Major Roads Programme as identified in the HA Business Plan 2008-09.

16 July 2008

Road Pricing Demonstrations Project

In May 2007 the Secretary of State announced the Government's intention to work closely with industry to explore the systems and technology that could make a future road pricing scheme possible. This will be done via the Demonstrations Project.

Interoperability for road pricing schemes

Road Pricing: Air Interface Requirements for Road Pricing where DSRC (Tag and Beacon) systems are used. Including the Test Specification.

12 November 2007
Last update:
15 May 2008

Road Pricing Feasibility Study

Following the publication of 'Managing our Roads' in July 2003, the Secretary of State for Transport set up a comprehensive study to examine how a new system of charging for road use could help make better use of our road capacity. The study commissioned a wide range of work. It considered whether and how road pricing might work, not whether it should be adopted. This report sets out the conclusions. The Department's response is contained within 'The Future of Transport'.

For related documents, pages and internet links, see the column on the right.