I was looking back through vacation photos from my husband's and my 2008 trip to London and ran across the picture above.
Congestion charging started in London back in 2003, and they extended the covered area in 2007. Basically, cars that want to drive in certain high-traffic areas have to pay a toll or face a fine. Since launching the program, London has seen a six percent increase in bus ridership.
The city invests the money raised from congestion charges in transit. Last year alone, that amounted to £148 million, which is over $239 million. Most of the money from the project goes directly to enhancing London's bus system. Their buses are in better shape and more reliable as a result.
A 2008 report (pdf) looked at the environmental impacts of congestion charging, and found reductions of:
8 percent in road traffic emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOX); 7 percent in emissions of fine particulate matter (PM10), and 16 percent in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2)
Pretty great, right? I think other cities could definitely take a lesson from London's congestion charging! Have you seen creative ways that cities have raised money for transit? I'd love to hear other examples in the comments!