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Traffic has fallen by 20% thanks to city congestion charge

London is one of the world’s busiest cities, and reducing traffic levels and congestion are topics high on the city’s agenda. Thanks to its innovative charge system, for which Siemens provide the detection and enforcement infrastructure, London is able to do so.

Initial Situation

With a population of almost eight million, London is western Europe’s largest city. Its array of attractions means it is also a popular tourist destination in addition to the city’s status as one of the world’s major financial hubs. As a result, the English capital is faced with significant challenges such as traffic levels and congestion. In 2002, its inner city congestion cost the British economy an estimated two billion pounds sterling a year.

Customer Challenge

The Mayor of London set an initial target to reduce congestion in central London by 20%.  An important factor in reaching this goal was the introduction of the Congestion Charge Zone in February 2003.

Our Solution

Local government body Transport for London (TfL) introduced a congestion charge zone in central London, enforcing it with a camera-based, automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system. The Mobility Division of the Siemens Infrastructure & Cities Sector provided the entire system architecture for the collection, analysis and processing of vehicle data.

A total of 986 ANPR cameras located around the congestion zone automatically read the license plates of more than four million vehicles per day, to verify correct registration with a central database. Using a broadband communications infrastructure, information is able to be accumulated, analyzed and processed quickly.

In February 2007 the Western Extension Zone was completed. This was followed by the Low Emission Zone around Greater London in February 2008. This same technology was then subsequently transferred to the original congestion zone during a refit completed in March 2009.