Aspects of Road Pricing in Bristol



Aspects of Road Pricing in Bristol

Authors

ADCOCK S, Transport and Travel Researeh, UK

Description

The city of Bristol is the regional capital of the South West of England located at the head of the Severn Estuary. It is the major centre of employment for the region with many motorists commuting daily from local towns and also the city of Bath which is

Abstract

The city of Bristol is the regional capital of the South West of England located at the head of the Severn Estuary. It is the major centre of employment for the region with many motorists commuting daily from local towns and also the city of Bath which is around 17 km distant. Bristol, in common with most UK cities, currently relies heavily on the private ear to meet its transport needs, and indeed car ownership is higher in Bristol than in any city of comparable size.. Increased ear ownership end the increasingly dispersed residential areas of its workers have resulted in steadily worsening traffic congestion. Market research carried out in 1997 found that most Bristol motorists recognise that the build up of traffic in Bristol over recent years is a major problem. Air quality is ofcen raised as a particular concern, and there appears to be a general willingness to pay for air quality improvements. Inadequacy of public transport was felt to be a serious problem by almost a fifrh of the respondents.

The authority responsible for transport policy in Bristol is Bristol City Council. In response to concerns such as those outlined above, the council has adopted policies which aim to break the pattern of continued car use and the decline of alternative modes, particularly public transport, while maintaining economic competitiveness. Priorities include ensuring good access to fac'dities, enabling economic development , providing safety and security, and improving the environment. The neighbouring local authorities have adopted similar policies under the umbrella of the Transport Plan for the former Avon area.

Transport and Travel Research is currently working with Bristol City Council to investigate a range of transport strategies each of which has the aim of achieving lower levels of envtr" onmental pollution through encouraging motorists to switch to using public transport. The demonstration study of the effectiveness of these measures (both individually and in combination) forms part of the European funded CONCERT project. This project comprises a conso~um of eight European cities: Barcelona, Bologna, Bristol, Dublin, I-Iarmover, Marseilles, Thessaioniki and Trondheim, each of which is investigating the effectiveness of various transport management systems.

The Bristol study is known by the acronym ELGAR (Environment Led Guidance and Restraint). The measures investigated were introduced in two phases between Summer 1997 and Spring 1998, and the evaluation concentrates on the effectiveness of the measures as a package rather than each in isolation. The study concentrates on the A4 Bath Road corridor which is a major radial road. This route suffers from traffic congestion but has a successful bus park & ride scheme with 1300 ear spaces on the edge of the city, linked to the centre by a fast and frequent bus service using high quality buses.

The measures investigated are:

Phase 1:

The installation of five variable message signs (VMS) informing drivers of times when pollution levels in Bristol city centre are high. Strategically placed signs encourage drivers to use Park & Ride as an alternative to driving into the centre.

Phase 2:

Improved bus priority measures.

Real time bus information provided at a the main city centre park and ride bus stop An environmental road pricing trial, in which a selection of volunteers were rewarded for switching to modes other than private car for the'tr journeys into the city. The rewards were increased when high pollution levels were advertised. This trial aimed to simulate the volunteers' likely reactions to being charged tolls for driving to the city centre.

In this paper I concentrate on the issues surrounding the introduction of road pricing both in Bristol and more widely in the UK. At the time of writing (June 1998) validated results quantifying the effects of road pricing trial are not available - these will be presented at the European Transport Conference and an updated paper will be provided by the author.

Publisher

Association for European Transport