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CASE STUDY: Edinburgh

First the carrot: A £500M package of public transport improvements. Then the stick: Ringing Scotland's traffic-choked capital with toll plazas, charging motorists £1 to drive into the city.

This is the vision of Dr George Hazel, city development manager for Edinburgh Council - currently tipped as the first transport authority likely to bring in congestion charges.

Hazel is optimistic of early government and European Union funding for £500,000 worth of studies to identify what is needed to create integrated transport for the city. All he needs then is the legal powers to collect tolls and charge for company car parking.

Hazel's council has already formed a partnership with seven others in the area to develop a public transport policy for south east Scotland. The group has identified 100km of disused or new urban rail routes which could be developed. Additional carrots include extensions to the already planned guided busway system to the airport; more of the city's highly successful 'Greenways' bus only lanes plus dedicated cycling and walking routes.

This entire package would be offered to a private sector consortium which would recoup investment partly through fare revenue from these revitalised transport modes and even perhaps through managing all the city's parking meters. But the main revenue stream would be a franchise for a single consortium to operate a toll system on a dozen key routes into the centre. Priced modestly at £1 a car, this would generate some £55M a year.

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