Table of Contents

Pricing in Road Transport

Pricing in Road Transport

A Multi-Disciplinary Perspective

Edited by Erik Verhoef, Michiel Bliemer, Linda Steg and Bert van Wee

Transport pricing is high on the political agenda throughout the world, but as the authors illustrate, governments seeking to implement this often face challenging questions and significant barriers. The associated policy and research questions cannot always be addressed adequately from a mono-disciplinary perspective. This book shows how a multi-disciplinary approach may lead to new types of analysis and insights, contributing to a better understanding of the intricacies of transport pricing and eventually to a potentially more effective and acceptable design of such policies. The study addresses important policy and research themes such as the possible motives for introducing road transport pricing and potential conflicts between these motives, behavioural responses to transport pricing for households and firms, the modelling of transport pricing, and the acceptability of pricing.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Linda Steg, Erik Verhoef, Michiel Bliemer and Bert van Wee

Subjects: economics and finance, transport, environment, transport, urban and regional studies, transport


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...