Some of my friends interested in road pricing remain perennial optimists. Perhaps they have a point.
The Economist (Jan 7) reports on "Jambusters ... New technology could improve London's congestion charge ... Despite the doubts, and despite complaints from shop owners, London's congestion charge -- introduced in February 2003 -- has managed to ease the gridllock in the city centre. Traffic is down by 18%, jams by 30%. ..."
The story also reports that fine-tuning is coming via time-sensitive variable-charging approaches. This means that the numbers will get even better.
Yes, it took road pricing to relieve traffic -- in a city that has some of the best public transportation in the world.
And yes, Richard Nixon normalized relations with mainland ("Red") China and "Red Ken" Livingston introduced road pricing to London.