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What you need to know

Congestion charging is a way to ease congestion by charging road users at different times or locations, depending on how congested the roads are. The charge encourages some users to change the time, route, or method of travel, or they could choose not to travel at all. This is known as demand management and results in better use of the road network.

Currently, motorists pay for using the roads through petrol taxes, road user charges, vehicle registration fees and council rates. These charges don’t consider the time or location of travel, for example, driving on a congested motorway in rush hour versus driving along a quiet road late at night. The true cost of these two journeys is very different because driving at peak times adds to the congestion on the road, which affects, or has a ‘cost’ to, other road users. These costs also impact the economy, by adding to freight travel times and costs for example, and individuals because people have less time at home with family.

Congestion charging could change this by varying what road users pay at different times or locations to better reflect where the cost of using the roads is higher - that is, where there is congestion.

For more information, see how land transport is funded.

The Government is currently investigating congestion charging, but no decisions have been made on whether to introduce it as a transport planning tool for New Zealand’s cities.

In April 2017 the Government and Auckland Council began investigating congestion charging for Auckland as part of a project named the Congestion Question. For information and background on congesting charging in Auckland click on the link below.