Communication and governance challenges in Greater Manchester's 'congestion charge' referendum

Communication and governance challenges in Greater Manchester's 'congestion charge' referendum

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This chapter has explored the challenges faced by GM in decision-making around its plans for a package of measures that would include congestion charging and public transport investment. It has shed light on some of the ways in which party politics, local campaigning and the media contributed to shaping public opinion. In looking at related developments in GM following the vote, it has shown that whilst some of the intentions of the proposals have been realised as part of subsequent policy initiatives there remains a reluctance to pursue the charging element. As someone who supported the GMTIF proposals, seeing their value for the conurbation in social, economic and environmental terms and recognising the central role of the congestion charge within them, I note that there is still a need for greater investment in public transport and active travel and to recognise that moving towards these more sustainable modes requires sticks as well as carrots. Whilst bold action on GM's car-centred transport networks would therefore be welcome, it must be recognised that the referendum result makes that more challenging politically than it would otherwise be - though it is of course not impossible. Whilst the use of a referendum might enable politicians to defer to the `will of the people', the challenges of meaningfully addressing the congestion in our cities and moving towards sustainable mobility remain.

Chapter Contents:

  • 7.1 Introduction
  • 7.2 Transport as challenge and opportunity
  • 7.3 Greater Manchester's Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) bid
  • 7.4 The plans as response to the challenge of car-dependent cities
  • 7.5 Reactions to the proposals
  • 7.6 Communicating complex proposals
  • 7.6.1 Introduction
  • 7.7 Political leadership and governance
  • 7.7.1 The referendum
  • 7.8 Developments following the referendum
  • 7.9 Lessons and implications for road pricing
  • 7.10 Conclusion
  • References

Inspec keywords: sustainable development; road pricing (tolls); road traffic

Other keywords: public transport investment; congestion charge referendum; economic terms; environmental terms; sustainable mobility; social terms; GMTIF proposals; Greater Manchester

Subjects: Systems theory applications in economics and business; Systems theory applications in natural resources and ecology; Systems theory applications in transportation

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