Environmentally reformed travel habits during the 2006 congestion charge trial in Stockholm--a qualitative study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 Aug;8(8):3202-15. doi: 10.3390/ijerph8083202. Epub 2011 Aug 2.


Policy measures that reduce or replace road traffic can improve environmental conditions in most large cities. In Stockholm a congestion charge was introduced during a test period in 2006. This was a full-scale trial that proved to meet its targets by reducing traffic crossing the inner city segment during rush hours by 20%. Emissions of carbon dioxide and particles were also substantially reduced. This study, based on in-depth interviews with 40 inhabitants, analyses how and why new travel habits emerged. The results show that particular, sometimes unexpected, features of everyday life (habits, resources, opportunities, values, etc.) were crucial for adjustment of travel behaviour in relation to the policy instrument. One example was that those accustomed to mixing different modes of transport on a daily basis more easily adapted their travel in the targeted way. On a more general level, the results revealed that the policy measure could actually tip the scales for the individual towards trying out a new behaviour.

Keywords: congestion charge; everyday life; habits; policy innovation; sustainable travel; transportation; travel demand management.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Attitude
  • Carbon Monoxide / analysis
  • Cities
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Policy / economics
  • Humans
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Transportation / economics*
  • Transportation / methods*
  • Vehicle Emissions / analysis*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter
  • Vehicle Emissions
  • Carbon Monoxide