The Netherlands is soon to be the first place in Europe to tax people's use of cars rather than ownership. The expectation is that six to ten percent fewer car journeys will mean that traffic deaths will fall by about the same percentage, saving twenty to forty lives a year in the country which already has the world's safest roads.
The scheme, called the "kilometerheffing" (simply "kilometer charge"), boils down to a GPS system in cars which will record how much they are driven, where and when. The intention is that driving on busy roads in the rush hour will cost more than driving on less busy roads at other times. It is intended to be a revenue neutral change to the tax on motorists, so that 60% of drivers will see their costs drop. Of course, if people drive less, the overall amount of tax paid to the government by drivers will drop. The proposal is nevertheless a bit controversial with some drivers, especially those who drive long distances at present.
There are also advantages in reduction of traffic jams and CO2 emissions.
Car ownership in the Netherlands is already lower than it might have been due to policies which make alternatives more attractive. It's difficult to know whether this will result in more or fewer people owning cars, but it should certainly help to increase the cycling rate in what is already the world's top cycling nation.
The Fietsberaad expect cycle usage to grow by 10% due to the kilometerheffing.
It didn't pass. The Netherlands is still waiting or the kilometerheffing. However, so far as cycling is concerned, carrots are more important than sticks.
It's also covered here and here
Cycling in Rotterdam 1 of 8
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