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Swedish university suggests 'reverse congestion charge' to benefit bikers

The idea involves paying bikers using funds collected from cars that drive through Stockholm's busiest part of town.

The first time you ride your bike past a traffic jam, you'll be so happy it won't matter if you're being paid to ride or not.

Flickr user Hikosaemon

Congestion charges are nothing new, especially in Europe, but the Royal Institute of Technology wants to change things up a bit. Rather than socking away all the money collected from congestion charges, the Swedish uni wants to use that money to upgrade bicyclists' rides.

The more folks get involved with cycling, the fewer cars there are attempting to shoehorn into already congested urban areas, and incentivizing bike travel is one way to increase that number even further. RIT suggests using congestion charges to offer a sort of credit, which could only be used for bike upgrades -- studded tires, better suspension and the like.

This is but one part of a larger strategy from the Swedish school, which also suggested allowing bikes on trains and creating two-lane "highways" for cyclists. Stockholm proper sees plenty of riders already, but the trouble is extending that mindset to suburbanites who may still see cars as the wisest mode of transportation.

Currently, most of Stockholm's congestion charge is going towards construction of a new expressway that will bypass the city using mostly underground tunnels.