Amsterdam city council is considering introducing tolls for city centre traffic in an effort to reduce the number of cars in some areas, the Parool reported on Thursday.
The city’s executive decided to look into the option following research into driving habits in the south and western parts of the city using information gleaned from 40 million journeys and data from satnav maker TomTom.
The research, the paper said, showed that 40% to 60% of cars using the Nassaukade and Stadhouderskade ring road had ‘no business’ in the area.
In addition, the researchers concluded that making it more expensive to drive through the city would be a good way of preventing jams. In London, for example, the introduction of a congestion charge has cut traffic structurally by 15%, the researchers say.
The council admits that introducing a toll would require legislation at a national level, but says the government coalition agreement does open the door to ‘pilot forms of payment and transport’.
Reduced car districts
The council is also considering carving the city up into six areas where car use will be discouraged, linked together via main roads.
Among the measures being considered to make it more problematic to drive include the introduction of more one-way systems and breaking streets up with dead-ends.
The aim, officials say, is to improve air quality, create calmer streets and boost road safety.
The toll and car-free zone plan has been drawn up by the outgoing executive but with GroenLinks now the biggest party in the capital, calls for fewer cars will be key in the ongoing talks to form a new coalition.
Despite support for the plan by outgoing transport alderman Pieter Litjens, a member of the right-wing Liberal VVD, the national VVD does not agree with the idea, the Parool said on Thursday afternoon.
‘We will absolutely not cooperate with introducing a toll to drive into Amsterdam,’ said VVD MP Remco Dijkstra. ‘Every city should be accessible via a wide variety of methods of transport.’
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