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Express buses in the Stockholm congestion charging trial

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Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
STRIA Roadmaps
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues,
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

The Stockholm Trial included three elements: congestion charge, reinforced public transport and more park & ride sites. The reinforcement of public transport (PT) has been carried on for a longer period than the congestion charge period, which was seven months in the first half year of 2006. The reinforced bus service started in autumn 2005 and ended at new year 2006/07, a test period of almost 1.5 years.

The most important PT reinforcement was the establishment of twelve new express bus routes from suburbs direct to the inner city of Stockholm. Feeder buses and rail normally serve the suburbs. The direct buses used fast motorways between the suburbs and the city.  


The aim of the direct bus routes was to relieve the pressure on the train capacity and to present a high quality service to old and new PT passengers. The assumption was that most passengers on the direct buses would be former PT passengers and that most new PT travellers would go by rail. 


The trafficability (accessibility and speed) was investigated by KTH by the means of two masters thesis. These show that travelling times decreased and average speeds increased significantly, but not on all test distances. The best values show about 10% shorter travelling times.

Four survey polls where made. The interviews where made before and during the congestion charge period. The interviews were further made both as home interviews, by Internet and on-board interviews, on paper.

  1. At-home Internet interviews spring 2005 in Skånska-Åkersberga and in Viksjö-Jakobsberg.
  2. At-home Internet interviews spring 2006 in the same areas.
  3. On-board interviews autumn 2005 on four direct bus routes and three parallel rail services.
  4. On-board interviews spring 2006 on the same routes .


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
The Swedish Road Administration (Vägverket)
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


Almost all residents had a realistic perception about the public transport in their local area, even a good knowledge about the new direct bus services. The perceptions about the travelling times to terminals in the city were not so good. There was a big deviance of perceptions. Strikingly, fewer inhabitans chose to go by car to the inner city, especially in Skånsta. Before the Stockholm trial almost 65% of the commuters in Skånsta went by PT. This share increased by up to 10 percentage points to almost 75% during the trial. In Viksjö the PT share increased from 75% to over 80% among the respondents. Half of the respondents at home answered that they had changed travel habits. Only a few respondents answered that the congestion charge itself was the reason for changing.

9 out of 10 direct bus passengers made a journey to work and almost all of the rest went for education. 3 out of 4 used the buses every weekday.

A a slight shifting in attitudes from 2005 to 2006 was noted, especially among the PT passengers. In 2006 fewer agreed that travel by car into the city should be maide easier.

Those going by direct buses were more pleased with travel time, punctuality and comfort than those using various rail services. The biggest difference in customer satisfaction regarded punctuality: The direct buses received an average score of 4.0 whe the rail services received 1.6 on a five poing satisfaction scale.

About 50% of the residents were delayed at least a few times per week when travelling by public transport.

Hypothetical choices revealed valutaions as followed:

  • One extra change was valued as 5-15 min travel time
  • "Often 5-10 delay" was valued as 25 min travel time
  • The time value was estimated to SEK 12-16 per hour (based on monthly cards)
  • There was no significant preference for train or bus
  • High comfort with reclining seats, air conditioning and individual reading lamps was valued as 12 minutes travel time.

The travel mode seems to be chosen mainly on criteria as travel time, number of changes and comfort.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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