Stockholm is second Euro capital to charge for driving into the city

All the cool cities are doing it! (Wait, is Stockholm cool?) This week, Sweden’s capital began a trial run of a new system that will charge for the privilege of driving into the city, and officials have declared it a success so far. On the first day of the new fees — which can run up to $7.50 a day — the number of cars traveling into central Stockholm fell by a quarter, and commuters reported bigger crowds on public transit. The government hopes the congestion-charge system will reduce traffic on the busiest roads by 10 to 15 percent and improve air quality. Stockholmers have been polling squarely against the charges, even though they tend to agree that traffic jams are a real problem. They’ll get to vote in September on whether to make the system permanent. In London, where congestion charges were established in 2001, traffic has gone down by 18 percent and the city now has plans to extend the zone in which drivers are charged.