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Monitoring the effects of Road User Charging in Durham

United Kingdom
United Kingdom Flag
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

A survey was conducted in 1991 in order to assess pedestrian, servicing and general traffic behaviour on the Peninsula Area of Durham County. Following this survey Durham County Council introduced The County of Durham (Peninsula Area, Durham City) Traffic Management Order, 1994.


This introduced restrictions, which included Weight Restrictions on Saddler Street, Disabled Parking Places and Loading Areas to the Market Place, Prohibition of Coaches, and Prohibition of Waiting and Loading. These restrictions successfully reduced traffic by 45% but did not deter all non-essential vehicles from entering the Peninsula, thus posing a significant hazard to pedestrians. The Introduction of the Transport Act 2000 provided the opportunity to deliver an effective solution to the traffic problem through Road User Charging. This research is an evaluation of this scheme.


The primary objectives of this scheme were to:


  • Improve pedestrian safety;
  • Improve access for the disabled;
  • Enhance the World Heritage Site, whilst preserving the viability of the Peninsula as a working part of the City Centre.

In order to ascertain if the primary objectives of the scheme have been achieved several surveys have been conducted.

These are:


  • Exit Method Survey;
  • Vehicle Usage Log;
  • Bollard Collision Data;
  • Pedestrian Counts.;
  • Cathedral Bus Usage. Accident Data;
  • Questionnaires.


Also in order to identify meaningful trends from the data obtained using the above survey methods it is important to consider external data, including tourist information figures for Durham City and its main attraction, the Cathedral as well as retail sales figures.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Department for Transport
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


The Durham City Forum (Durham County Council, City Council, Chamber of Trade, University, and Cathedral) agreed to a road user-charging scheme that had an aim 'to significantly reduce its vehicular and pedestrian conflict by removing a substantial proportion of existing traffic'. In doing so the scheme had deliver:

  • Improved Pedestrian Safety;
  • Improved access for disabled;
  • Enhancement of the World Heritage site;
  • And the preservation of the viability of the Peninsula as a working part of the City Centre.

Following consultation with the public a £2 charge for vehicles using Saddler Street and the Market Place during a defined period of 10 am and 4 pm Monday to Saturday was introduced. This was considered to be a sufficient deterrent when considering that the main area for vehicle reduction lies within those undertaking short duration shopping or commercial activities. This period was chosen as it coincided with peak pedestrian flows. It was also agreed that, to allow ease of use of permits by visitors, and to ensure no build up of congestion occurred at the access point, the control and payment collection should be on exit rather than on entry.

The key successful results of

Policy implications

The main policy implication of this research is that targeted road user charging, whilst unpopular at the outset, achieves significant reductions in levels of congestion and environmental pollutants whilst at the same time encouraging an upward trend in public transport patronage.

Pricing and taxation

Key Findings

The project contributes to the pricing, taxation and financing tools theme, especially in relation to the topics of road user charges.  The project particularly deals with the sub themes of: urban and road pricing, such as a demonstration of urban pricing schemes and their evaluation, and recommendation for implementation of urban and interurban road pricing schemes. 


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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