One of the capital’s most influential business groups has called for a move towards “smart” road pricing where drivers who use the most congested roads are charged more.
A report published by London First warns that the city’s growing population means congestion is likely to get worst unless politicians and Londoners accept the need for “radical” solutions.
The results of a poll commissioned by the organisation show the public is split over ways to tackle the problem.
Although it was the most popular solution, increasing the congestion charge during rush hour won the support of just 29% support of poll respondents.
21% backed the building of more roads to tackle congestion, the same number who supported increasing the size of the congestion charge zone.
A total of 34% favoured varying the charge depending on congestion levels, with 19% backing a higher congestion charge for the most congested roads and 15% saying they wanted a reduced charge for drivers using less congested routes.
The report warns that Londoners and businesses face “greater congestion, more unpredictable journey times, and increased delays on deliveries” unless action is taken.
Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, said the expected increase in congestion levels was “bad news for London’s competitiveness and for Londoners’ overall quality of life.”
She commented: “We need a far cleverer congestion charging regime where costs vary more based on those roads and times of day where congestion is worst.
“The sooner Londoners and London government come to terms with this reality and we start working up a solution the better.”
Green party London Assembly member Darren Johnson said the report shows “that the next Mayor needs to adopt an updated version of congestion charging if they are to have any hope of keeping London’s roads moving.”
He added: “We have updated London’s public transport system with Oyster Cards, contactless payments and embraced new forms of technology. London now needs to do the same with our congested road network by adopting pay as you go driving throughout the capital.”