Proven technology key to congestion charge success

Using proven, rather than cutting-edge, technology was key to the success of the London congestion charge scheme, the chief architect of the project will tell a BCS discussion of road user charging this month.

Using proven, rather than cutting-edge, technology was key to the success of the London congestion charge scheme, the chief architect of the project will tell a BCS discussion of road user charging this month.

Derek Turner, who was formerly managing director of street management at Transport for London, will be addressing the BCS Oxfordshire Branch and the Oxford Internet ­Institute on 24 May.

The congestion charge scheme was introduced in 2003 after 75 years of policy work on road use pricing. Once it was implemented, it took less than two weeks for the programme to settle down - the fear factor evaporated due to the rapid stabilisation, said Turner.

"The team showed that enthusiasm and a can-do attitude, combined with the use of proven and effective, rather than leading-edge, technology, can deliver a supposedly impossible project on time. They created a successful public/private partnership, harnessing the strengths of both," he said.

"The provision of many different ways for people to register and pay was important: the most used being SMS via mobile phones, while payment over the counter is also popular and encourages people to use small shops."

Turner said that it was also important to present a road user pricing project to the public and politicians as part of an overall transport strategy. "The public information campaign proved very valuable," he said.

In June 2003, Turner was awarded the CBE for his services to transport in London.

Transport for London >>

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