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Congestion in the South East.

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Introduction

Congestion in the South East The problem of congestion in South East, particularly London, is a great one. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries increased car use was seen as part of growing economic progress, but now we aware of the negative externalities caused by it, congestion and pollution, something must be done to restrict road use. Congestion in London is a massive problem. It causes unsightly gridlocked roads, difficulties in travelling around, and causes businesses to use extra vehicles to be able to carry out their work efficiently, thus adding to the problem further. To tackle this problem, there are two methods of restricting car use in London. One is using direct controls/interventions, e.g. yellow lines, full pedestrianisation, traffic wardens etc. The other is the use of the price mechanism, e.g. road pricing, taxes, public transport subsidies etc. The fundamental difference between the two methods is that whereas a direct control bans use of a good/service, the price mechanism will restrict its use by making its users pay the full social cost for it. ...read more.

Middle

Another disadvantage of using a direct control would be that they might be difficult and costly to enforce. For example, painting yellow lines to stop people parking in certain areas may well work, but the cost of employing traffic wardens and clamping vehicles (likely to be using taxpayers money) may be great. It is also worth considering that although some sort of direct control may be suitable inside of Central London, it would probably not be so appropriate in other areas of the South East, for example Cambridgeshire, where congestion is not such a problem and arguably banning the use of cars there would stop many tourists from enjoying its attractions. Because of these reasons against the use of a widespread direct control on car use, the price mechanism would be more suitable. Using the price mechanism, or 'imposing a price', allows road users the freedom to choose whether or not to use the cars, but makes them pay for the privilege. In this sense, it helps to achieve allocative efficiency, as can be seen on the following diagram: This is a diagram for negative externalities. ...read more.

Conclusion

By far the most effective method of stopping congestion would be to adopt a European style electronic road pricing system whereby we are charged for using busy roads at busy times - it is highly targeted and distinguishes (unlike road tax) between those who use Central London's roads at rush-hour and those who drive through the countryside at night. This would create revenue that could be redirected into improving public transport. This system would also be more likely to create equity. What this means is that road users would pay for the negative externalities which they themselves create, whereas an increased petrol tax charges all drivers regardless. However, this is one disadvantage of using the price mechanism - no matter what price, or type of price is imposed, the poor are always going to be hit harder than the rich. A �5 fee for using London's roads will be a significant amount for those on benefits, less so for BMW driving Company Executives. _________________________________________________________________ Chat online in real time with MSN Messenger http://messenger.msn.co.uk . ...read more.

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