Pricing in Road Transport
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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.
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Chapter 2: Road Transport Pricing: Motivation, Objectives and Design from an Economic Perspective

Erik Verhoef


1 Erik Verhoef 2.1 INTRODUCTION Road pricing is gaining increasing attention in transport policy circles. After the first contemporary area-wide applications in, for example, Singapore and Scandinavia, which demonstrate the technical viability and potential effectiveness of pricing measures, more places have been following suit, either by implementing schemes or at least by considering them. The pricing schemes concerned vary from classic toll roads to express lanes, toll cordons, area charging and kilometre charges. Also charge levels, and degrees of toll differentiation, may differ quite significantly between applications. This may reflect differences both in local conditions and in the schemes’ objectives, and indicate that (local or national) governments have a wide variety of road-pricing options to choose from, after deciding to implement road pricing in the first place. This contribution reviews the various possible objectives that may motivate the practical implementation of road-pricing schemes (in Section 2.2), and to discuss (in Section 2.3) how such objectives may affect the design of schemes. These questions are, in the first place, of intrinsic interest, because any government considering the implementation of road pricing will benefit from a careful ex ante identification and specification of the scheme’s objectives, and an assessment of how to best achieve these through optimizing the design of the measure. But, second, these same questions also allow us to provide an introduction to the remainder of the book, by presenting some of the basic (economic) theory of road pricing and...

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