Further studies on vehicular traffic pricing called for

Vehicular traffic pricing suggested in the Helsinki Region Transport System Plan HLJ 2015 divided the opinions of statement providers. Municipalities are not yet ready to introduce the pricing while government agencies took a more positive stance. Further studies on pricing and ways to implement it are widely supported.

Public transport, walking and cycling are future modes of transport in the Helsinki region. Consequently, their level of service needs to be improved. The trunk network, i.e. frequently running rail services and trunk bus services, form the basis of the public transport system. Feeder bus services ensure good transport links also for a wider area.

When new developments are concentrated along good public transport links, the need to travel decreases and a large number of journeys can be made with sustainable modes of transport. These HLJ 2014 policies received wide support in the statements given by municipalities, the state and other stakeholders. The draft plan was circulated for comments together with the Helsinki Region Land Use Plan and Housing Strategy.  

“The simultaneous preparation and the related collaboration process were appreciated and considered as an appropriate way to pan the region’s future transport system and land use as well as their integration. It is easy to agree with this view because through the joint preparation we were able to identify regional viewpoints instead of development needs of individual municipalities,” says HSL’s Sini Puntanen.

Money and its availability was a common concern. The large public transport projects in the region, the Ring Rail Line, West Metro, automation of the Metro and trunk route 560, increase the public transport operating and infrastructure costs in the coming years. Long-term development of the transport system requires continuity, investments and guaranteed funding for services.

The Draft Helsinki Region Land Use Plan and Housing Strategy and Draft Transport System Plan are finalized on the basis of the comments received during the early part of 2015.The aim is that the plans are approved by the Executive Board of HSL and Helsinki Region Cooperation Assembly (HSKY) by the end of March 2015.

Once approved, the plans will serve the basis for the Letter of Intent on Land Use, Housing and Transport 2016-2019.

Comments

Distance-Based Pricing can provide the following benefits:

· Increased fairness. Distance-based fees can more accurately reflect the insurance, road and pollution costs imposed by individual vehicles. Current pricing tends to overcharge motorists who drive less than average and undercharge those who drive more than average each year in a price category. Since lower-income motorists tend to drive less than average, this is regressive.

· Increased affordability. Converting to distance-based costs could make vehicle purchase, leasing, insurance, and registration more affordable by allowing motorists to decide how much driving they can afford, as they can with most consumer goods (Litman, 2004). It allows households to afford an extra vehicle that is seldom driven, such as an old truck used for errands or a recreational vehicle.

· Increased economic efficiency. Distance-based charges more accurately reflect motor vehicle costs than existing pricing, and so increase overall economic efficiency and productivity.

· Consumer savings. The average motorist is predicted to save $50-100 per vehicle with distance-based insurance, and more if other charges are distance-based. These savings represent the reductions in insurance and roadway costs that result when motorists reduce their mileage. They indicate that consumers value incremental financial savings more than incremental vehicle use. Reduced vehicle travel. Distance-based insurance and registration fees are predicted to reduce vehicle travel by 10-15%, making this one of the most effective TDM strategies currently proposed. This reduces traffic congestion, road and parking facility costs, accident risk, pollution emissions, consumer costs, and urban sprawl.
Sara, writer from <a href="http://www.domyhomework4me.net/">domyhomework4me.net</a>

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