The City of Reykjavík is looking to implement so-called rush hour and pollution tolls in order to reduce car traffic, Vísir reports. Such tolls have proven successful in big cities abroad, not only in reducing traffic but in providing a significant stream of income for municipalities. Icelandic municipalities have been considering ways to reduce air pollution, which is believed to be the cause of 80 premature deaths per year across the country.
Sigurborg Ósk Haraldsdóttir, chairperson of the Planning and Transport Council of the City of Reykjavík, says rush hour tolls would be implemented in locations around the city with high traffic congestion during peak times. The tolls would be collected electronically and would only be charged during peak times.
“It has been shown that this has a direct impact on drivers’ behaviour,” Sigurborg says, “that is they are much more likely to change their mode of transportation. That’s what we want. We need to change travel behaviour and modes of transportation, not just because of the effects of air pollution on air quality, but also simply because of climate change. We know we have to reduce car traffic.”
Municipalities in the Reykjavík capital area have expressed interest in implementing such tolls, suggesting that the earnings could be used toward improving transportation infrastructure. The same goes for pollution tolls, which would be charged based on the type of vehicle. “Those who drive vehicles that pollute more would be charged more,” Sigurborg explains, adding that such tolls have a direct impact on drivers’ choice of vehicle.