Voting on sustainable transport: communication and governance challenges in Greater Manchester's ‘congestion charge’ referendum

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Sherriff, GA

In December 2008, the Greater Manchester electorate voted to reject a £3 billion package of transport measures that would have included investment in the conurbation's bus, tram and rail networks and walking and cycling infrastructure, together with, and partially funded by, the introduction of a congestion charge. The proposals followed a successful bid to the UK Government Transport Innovation Fund (TIF). High levels of car use present challenges to cities, and the TIF bid can be seen as an attempt to address these by promoting and facilitating a modal shift. The paper reflects on the debates surrounding the proposals, which led to a referendum. In particular, it explores the challenges of communicating complex, controversial plans in a fragmented and contested political arena.
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