Charles Rivasplata, Ph.D. – Department of Urban and Regional Planning,San José State University – U.S.A.
In an effort to reduce the adverse impacts of the car and promote sustainable transport in Latin America, some governments have either implemented travel demand management policies or have considered ways of directly reducing the number of vehicles in congested areas. While demand management measures have been promoted in a small number of countries, including vehicular restrictions as well as the promotion of public transport modes, there are currently no congestion pricing programmes in operation in Latin America. This paper begins with an overview of travel demand management, including its principal aims as well as its primary objectives within the Latin American context. It discusses past efforts to promote traffic restraint and perspectives for developing congestion pricing schemes in both São Paulo and Santiago. Finally, it examines the potential role of congestion pricing as a demand management tool. While it is one of the most effective demand management measures in the industrialised world, a number of barriers currently prevent it from being widely adopted in Latin America. This paper concludes that it is essential that local governments and programme planners coordinate with public sector agencies, transport experts and the general public to ensure that local issues are taken into account. This process can inform planners as they explore the various alternatives for implementing a programme within an established set of constraints