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The effects of congestions tax on air quality and health.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
2009 (English)In: Atmospheric Environment, ISSN 1352-2310, Vol. 43, no 31, 4843-4854 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The “Stockholm Trial” involved a road pricing system to improve the air quality and reduce traffic congestion. The test period of the trial was January 3–July 31, 2006. Vehicles travelling into and out of the charge cordon were charged for every passage during weekdays. The amount due varied during the day and was highest during rush hours (20 SEK = 2.2 EUR, maximum 60 SEK per day). Based on measured and modelled changes in road traffic it was estimated that this system resulted in a 15% reduction in total road use within the charged cordon. Total traffic emissions in this area of NOx and PM10 fell by 8.5% and 13%, respectively. Air quality dispersion modelling was applied to assess the effect of the emission reductions on ambient concentrations and population exposure. For the situations with and without the trial, meteorological conditions and other emissions than from road traffic were kept the same. The calculations show that, with a permanent congestion tax system like the Stockholm Trial, the annual average NOx concentrations would be lower by up to 12% along the most densely trafficked streets. PM10 concentrations would be up to 7% lower. The limit values for both PM10 and NO2 would still be exceeded along the most densely trafficked streets. The total population exposure of NOx in Greater Stockholm (35 × 35 km with 1.44 million people) is estimated to decrease with a rather modest 0.23 μg m−3. However, based on a long-term epidemiological study, that found an increased mortality risk of 8% per 10 μg m−3 NOx, it is estimated that 27 premature deaths would be avoided every year. According to life-table analysis this would correspond to 206 years of life gained over 10 years per 100 000 people following the trial if the effects on exposures would persist. The effect on mortality is attributed to road traffic emissions (likely vehicle exhaust particles); NOx is merely regarded as an indicator of traffic exposure. This is only the tip of the ice-berg since reductions are expected in both respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity. This study demonstrates the importance of not only assessing the effects on air quality limit values, but also to make quantitative estimates of health impacts, in order to justify actions to reduce air pollution.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 43, no 31, 4843-4854 p.
Keyword [en]
NOx, PM10, Road traffic, Exposure, Premature mortality, Stockholm
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-36928DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.09.015ISI: 000270643100020OAI: diva2:291193
Available from: 2010-01-31 Created: 2010-01-31 Last updated: 2011-04-18Bibliographically approved

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Johansson, Christer
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