The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) is proposing a Sustainable Travel Zone, rather than a scheme based on a cordon, so the road charge would apply to motor vehicles (unless exempt) moving into, out of, or within the Zone, not just those crossing the boundary. City residents (unless exempt) would therefore pay the charge when using a motor vehicle in the city on weekdays between 7am and 7pm.
A zone-based scheme is being proposal because just over 50% of the journeys in Cambridge start at postcodes within the city. If residents were exempt from the road charge, the scheme would not achieve the necessary results in terms of reducing congestion, lowering carbon emissions or improving air quality.
In addition, over a third of the journeys in the morning peak are wholly within the zone. These journeys are short and so easier to make on foot, by cycle or by bus than those originating outside the city. Some of the funding from the Sustainable Travel Zone will go towards walking and cycling infrastructure which will make it easier for many residents to choose these modes of travel.
Switching to walking and cycling not only brings benefits in terms of reduced congestion, improved sustainability and better air quality, but also improves the health and wellbeing of the individuals involved. One in six deaths in the UK is caused by physical inactivity (the same number as smoking). Poor health due to physical inactivity costs the UK approximately £7.4 billion each year (of which £0.9 billion is a cost to the NHS alone). Some of the chronic conditions and diseases linked to low levels of physical inactivity include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and depression.