Approximately 320,000 people were employed in the inner city and more than 210,000 commuted from outside the inner city.197 Car users faced significant delays while crossing congested bridges into the inner city during peak hours.
A congestion charging scheme that charged all traffic entering the inner city was trialled from January to June 2006. The trial was considered a success and most Stockholm City residents voted in favour of making it permanent in a public referendum held that year. As a result, the charge was made permanent in 2007.
Public support for congestion charges grew from 54% at the time of the referendum to 70% in 2011.198
Congestion charging has significantly improved the performance of Stockholm’s transport network. Traffic volumes on its roads have dropped by 20%, as fewer people made unnecessary car trips and car and bus travel speeds improved.
The money collected through the scheme was used to fund the equivalent of NZD$15 billion of transport projects in the city. These included a significant expansion of bus services to cope with the increased demand for public transport. This helped ensure fairness and reduced any impacts on low-income users. No discounts were offered as it was assumed that Sweden’s comprehensive welfare system would help those on low-incomes to manage the costs.199