Ken Livingston WTN Nominations text - for final comment
Monday, June 14, 2004, Paris, France, Europe
On Wednesday evening I must submit the final text of my nomination for the 2004 WTN Environment Award. I present it to you here, inviting your comments, suggestions and eventual fine-tuning. I have a sever word limitation, and I also cannot really do too much finger pointing if I am indeed to make the nomination. SO this is how I intend to handle it.
And finally, kindest thanks to all of you who have pitched in with such wise, thought-provoking comments. If no one else does, I for one am learning a lot from this exercise. And if you have not yet pitched in with your views, now is the time to do it.
E. Britton 2004 WTN Environment Award Nomination
Ken Livingston, the Mayor of London, has made an enormous contribution to quality of life in our cities over the last year by showing the courage and perspicacity to plan and execute Europe's first major congestion charging project. Call it a path-showing hands-on application of the "polluter pays" principle. It is for this reason that I am proud to nominate him for the 2004 WTN Environment Award.
Since February 2003 the city has charged a fee for private automobiles coming into its central area during weekdays as a way to reduce traffic congestion, improve quality of life, and raise revenues to fund future transport improvements. This technology-based project has significantly reduced traffic congestion in the target area, led to improved bus and taxi service, started to make life a bit safer for cyclists and pedestrians, and generates substantial revenues for future improvements. After a great deal of opposition at the start, public acceptance has grown and there is now support to expand the program to other parts of London and other cities in the U.K.
This is the first road pricing program of its kind in a major European city. The mayor's courageous efforts -- and it took considerable courage since he was from the beginning assailed by political, economic interests, lobbies, and other forces all assuring him that this project would be a disaster for the city -- and its success suggests that congestion pricing has already become more politically feasible elsewhere. We anticipate that virtually every major city in Europe is already looking into the possibility of a project of their own along these lines, adapting and building -- and one would hope improving -- on the London experience and its lessons. For further details on this project from the official site see http://www.cclondon.com/
To check the validity of this nomination, I invited comment and views from an international panel of recognized transportation, environment and public policy experts, more than fifty of whom have responded with their views and comments. Nine out of ten have enthusiastically endorsed this nomination, indicating that this example will also stimulate new thinking and much needed innovation in Third World cities as well. For a full account of this fascinating commentary, please go to http://newmobility.org, WTN Nomination.
A small number of the respondents, including some leading English experts with outstanding credentials, pointed up that if this award is given it should be with the vigorous counsel to Mayor Livingstone that he continue to pay close attention to managing the system, as opposed to the old “building your way out of the problem” approach that has led to many of the mobility and life quality problems that today plague our cities, London among them.
I rest my case and this nomination in full agreement with them as well, and I hope that in the event this award is made we too will express both our appreciation for his outstanding contribution and our concern for the future.
Eric Britton, The Commons, EcoPlan International, Paris