A Multi-Disciplinary Perspective
Edited by Erik Verhoef, Michiel Bliemer, Linda Steg and Bert van Wee
Linda Steg, Erik Verhoef, Michiel Bliemer and Bert van Wee 1.1 BACKGROUND Various developments have put (or kept) road pricing high on the political agenda in most societies. One is the seemingly relentless growth in road transport volumes, causing side-eﬀects such as congestion and pollution, which are among the greatest inconveniences of contemporary urban life. Another is the ongoing improvement in technologies for automated vehicle identiﬁcation and charging, making sophisticated transport pricing an increasingly attractive option to deal with these side-eﬀects. But also increasing demands on public budgets motivate the search for alternative funding of road infrastructure construction and maintenance. Most transport analysts would agree that road pricing is a potentially eﬀective instrument for curbing transport and transport-related problems. Likewise, many policy documents, from local authorities, as well as national and international governments, identify road pricing as one of the key cornerstones of contemporary transport policies, and support this by a variety of arguments, ranging from eﬀectiveness and economic eﬃciency to considerations of fairness and transparency in the ﬁnancing of infrastructure (the ‘user-pays principle’). But public acceptability often seems to be lagging behind, so that actual implementations, although growing in number, remain scarce. Nevertheless, with the introduction of the London congestion charge in 2003 (see also Chapter 14), and the implementation of charging in Stockholm in the Summer of 2007 (see also Chapter 10), one might hypothesize that urban road pricing is entering a new phase in its history, and will soon spread over...