Many cities and towns struggle with the balance of congestion, ‘liveability’, air pollution, noise levels, accessibility, damage to historic buildings and other pressures of urban life. Many cities have levels of pollution that adversely affect health. Congested, polluted, noisy cities are not attractive for businesses or residents.
There are many ways to seek to tackle these issues, usually with a combination of many measures together. Measures could include measures such as public transport improvements, bus lanes, good planning required for new developments, reducing emissions from public transport, lower speed limits, coordination of traffic lights, parking charges, residents parking schemes, as well as measures aimed at non-road sources of noise and pollution. Some cities and towns have regulations for vehicles entering their area, either charging for entry, not allowing entry for the more polluting vehicles (Low Emission Zones) or requiring permits or other regulations (Acess Regulation Schemes, (ARS)). While some of the permit schemes require payment for the permits, these are covered under ARS schemes for clarity.
A number of cities have decided to have a charging scheme in place, to regulate access to the whole or parts of the city. The schemes improve access to certain areas of the city for those who need access (for example deliveries to historic city centres). Money collected from the schemes is usually focused on improving transport in the city. The most well known schemes are in London and Stockholm, but they are also in place in towns and cities in Malta, Norway, Sweden and the UK – see the list below.
Urban road charging schemes can be found in the expandable Country menu, noted with a "- CS" after the city name. Where the menu item has just the city name, the scheme is a Low Emission Zone. The schemes are also listed below. Other urban access regulations will be added over the course of this year, with a re-launch in November 2014.