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Road Pricing Context













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Dutch National Case









The Hague


Urban Road User Charging Online Knowledge Base

Comparison of ACCEPTABILITY on our case studies


Within PROGRESS project, in fact, the city of Rome performed two surveys: the first addressed to a fixed panel of users to be interviewed in two steps on traffic-related problems and attitudes towards road pricing (Oct- Nov 2000 and Oct-Nov 2003) and the second oriented to car users currently authorised to access the Limited Traffic Zone to be interviewed on road pricing acceptance (Oct- Nov 2003).

To evaluate the level of user acceptance of the system, residents’ and shop owners’ perception of the system were analysed. As expected, residents were more in favour of the access control than shop owners.


Another interesting indicator was the acceptability of a full road-pricing policy (without access control). Neither residents nor shop owners are in favour of the removal of the access control and its replacement with a full road-pricing policy. However, the percentage of residents who think that a full road-pricing scheme is not a good idea is greater than that of shop owners. Moreover, this percentage increased from 44% to 51.2% for residents, while it decreased from 44.5% to 38.0% for the shop owners.


Awareness raising activities in Rome took a rather ‘soft’ form up to 1 October 2001, when the system was implemented. The reasons for the low public profile given to the initiative during its development phase can be partly ascribed to local culture and – once more – to the strong political component and, therefore, the embedded risk of promoting an initiative, which faced the initial opposition of a consistent part of the urban population.

The situation changed substantially once the citizens began to understand the positive effects on the liveability of the city centre. Besides, the huge impacts given by pollution and environmental issues are pushing the people to support the scheme. In conclusion, starting from an initial diffidence, the acceptability of these ACS+RP schemes is continuously growing and these schemes are becoming more and more popular.

Besides, ATAC with the support of the Italian Ministries of Environment and Regional Affairs is now investigating the level of citizens acceptance. It has been noticed that the introduction of mini-VMS at the gates has been appreciated by city users and there has also been a more careful understanding of LTZ rules. A good example is given by the decrease of violations during the last three minutes of the afternoon restriction during working days (between 5.57 p.m. and 6.00 p.m.).

Another interesting feature implemented by ATAC is the ATAC Mobile Infomobility application on mobile devices. The smart phones, in fact, become a direct communication channel between ATAC and citizens completely free of charge (only the service provided by the TLC operator should be paid).

Once entered the site http://atacmobile.it, the user can choose the language (currently English and Italian) and then consult the section of pertinence. Among the current services offered, the most useful is the “Bus waiting time” that provides the estimated arrival of the bus line of interest at the stop bus selected by the user. The information is generated by an Automatic Vehicle Monitoring (AVM) system, installed on most of buses. Another helpful service is the so-called “Traffic Restrictions in ZTL” which gives information on timetables of the different LTZ in Rome. The information on timetables is grouped according to the day of the week or to LTZ different areas, providing real-time information on the status of each individual gate (whether or not in the moment of query it is active).


Business Attitudes in the retail sector

TfL has carried out an annual survey with businesses in Central London since the Congestion Charge was introduced in 2003. This has included both businesses within the zone and those on its periphery.

The reason for this research is to assess business attitudes to congestion charging and its impacts on business activity.

It is noted that retailers have been the least supportive of the scheme. However, it is acknowledged that transport is a key issue for retailers and the challenges of congestion and access are important problems that affect day to day operation and trading.

The most recent TfL Business Survey of Autumn 2006 suggests that nearly two-thirds of the surveyed retail sector businesses in the charging zone say that transport and travel difficulties affected their business ‘a great deal’ or ‘quite a lot’. This is shown in the figure below.


In Stockholm, as in other places where the issue has been raised, politicians were ahead of their voters in their attitudes to congestion charging. When the political decision was taken to conduct a trial, public opinion was predominantly negative to the introduction of charges.

But – similar, too, to what has been experienced in a number of other cities - there was a significant change in the public opinion when the system was introduced. The change was not dramatically large (about 15% more positive during the trial than before it started), but important, since it implied a change of majority from negative to positive. Other, more frequent, polls conducted within the evaluation program indicate that the larger part of the attitudinal change occurred within the first two months of the trial.

Throughout the investigated period, the proportion who thought that it was a good (or quite good) decision to carry out the Stockholm trial, was higher than the proportion who said that they would support permanent implementation of congestion charges in a referendum concerning permanent introduction. (see figure above). The final positive outcome of this question was confirmed by the result of the real referendum in which 51.3 per cent of the inhabitants in the city of Stockholm, voted in favour of a permanent solution with congestion tax.

As can be seen from the above figure opinions were more negative in the municipalities surrounding the City of Stockholm, throughout the implementation process. In connection to the official referendum in the City, a number of other municipalities too, arranged their own referenda on congestion charging. These different referenda results can not be directly aggregated to a result “for the region”, since 1) wordings differed between municipalities and 2) one third of the inhabitants in the region live in municipalities that did not arrange a referendum. Nevertheless, referendum results generally support the impression from figure above: while inhabitants in the City voted for congestion charging, inhabitants in other municipalities generally voted against.

In an attitude poll held in the autumn of 2007 and asking among other things “What is your opinion on congestion tax now that the scheme has been re-installed?”, 48 % answered that they are positive or very positive, while 27 % said they were negative, see next figure.


Attitudinal and preference surveys help to explain some of the characteristics of the Oslo packages. Currently, the toll ring scheme provides a lion’s share of funding, with an increasing share of the funds being earmarked for public transport. This is one step in the right direction from an economic point of view, but it is also rational, based on the attitudes of the politicians and the professionals in the field. There is little support for funding from other local taxation.

There has been no referendum for the Oslo packages. Thus, it is important to understand how the politicians and the administrative bodies actually consider and weight the different aspects of the schemes against each other. For this purpose, both interviews (Bekken and Osland 2004) and a Stated Preference (SP) survey (Nossum and Norheim 2004) were conducted. The SP survey was carried out among politicians and transport planners with regard to different transport funding schemes and use of revenue. As discussed below the results show that it has been considered more important to find packages that are acceptable to all parties than to select an optimal package. Yearly attitudinal surveys of the general population were also carried out (Prosam 2004). These surveys provide useful insights into aspects of general acceptability of the packages and how attitudes have evolved over time.

General attitudinal surveys of citizens
The toll ring in Oslo commenced operation in February 1990. Each year since 1989 a survey of attitudes towards the toll ring has been carried out among the citizens in Oslo and Akershus. The sample is randomly selected among the population, with roughly 1000 interviews carried out each time by telephone. The aim has been to track changes in attitudes over time. The result is a time series of attitudes covering a period of 18 years. THe figure below summarizes the general results from the survey both for the entire sample and for the part of the sample passing through the toll ring on the way to work. Respondents were asked whether they were positive, indifferent or negative to this way of collecting revenue.

The figure shows that there is no overwhelming public support for the packages. Even though this survey cannot be compared with the result from a potential referendum, it is fair to say that the schemes would have a hard time being accepted in a general referendum. Acceptance has, however, increased over time since each scheme was introduced. This was also apparent in the Stockholm congestion charging trial scheme, where the public turned more positive after it was introduced (Gustavsson 2006). The introduction of Oslo package 2 in 2001, and the corresponding fee increase, reduced acceptability. However, after a few years acceptability was back to the pre-Oslo package 2 levels.

In 1989, more than 60% of the people in favour of the toll ring explained their reason as reduced car traffic, and 25% explained it as providing increased funds for road investments. In 2006 this had reversed, with more than 50% being in favour due to more funds for road investments and 25% due to reduced car traffic, this situation had been quite stable since 1994, indicating that the change occurred from 1989 to 1994.

The reasons why people are negative to the toll ring has much to do with the overall tax level of car usage. Most people explain their negative attitude towards the toll ring by this being unfair as they pay enough in taxes already.

Since 2001, the survey has included a question on attitudes towards Oslo package 2. About two thirds express a positive attitude towards Oslo package 2 after being informed about the contents of the package. There are no significant geographical differences. The youngest are more positive, whereas the ones with more cars per household are more negative. Close to one third agree on a question that half the revenue should be used for public transport investments (the PT share of Oslo package 1 is 20 per cent). Respondents are split equally on whether tolling should be continued regardless of how the funds are spent. However, the increased use of revenues for public transport and road investments is the main reason why the public accepts a prolongation of the toll ring (Prosam 2004).

Survey of preferences among decision makers

A preference survey of local decision makers in Oslo and some other large urban areas in Norway also with toll rings in operation (Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger and Kristiansand) was carried out in the autumn of 2004 (Nossum and Norheim 2004). In this study, decision makers were defined as those who take part in the decision making process in a wider context, i.e. county and municipal politicians, administrative staff in counties and municipalities and road authorities.

The stated preference method was used to assess the decision makers’ preferences for alternative packages of restrictive measures, pricing policy and revenue-use options. The survey revealed strong support for a combined funding approach with contributions from toll revenues, transit fare revenues and local and national authorities. Close to 80 per cent of decision makers favoured the idea of a joint contribution between authorities and passengers to finance better public transport service. Toll ring revenue and congestion charging are both preferred to local taxes as funding sources.

One goal of the survey was to reveal the different stakeholders’ inclination to recommend positive measures (increased PT frequency, reduced PT fares and car-free city centres), restrictive measures (increased road tolls, congestion charging, reduced number of parking spaces and increased parking fees) and combinations of these measures. There was also interest in determining the stakeholders’ assessment of the effects of the measures.

The surveys identified a strong positive correlation between the expected efficiency of the measures and acceptability, except for car-free cities. The politicians consider car-free city centres as a very efficient measure for reducing car traffic, but they do not recommend it. All respondents expect the levels of restrictive measures to influence positively the impact of the measures, but the probability that the respondents would recommend different measures was independent of this level. This may explain why efficient measures have increasingly been implemented in the Oslo packages, but less intensively than would be optimal.

There is no time differentiation in the Oslo toll ring. Furthermore, the toll is collected 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Thus, the fee is the same whether driving to work or for leisure. The following figure might give an insight to equity considerations.


No information available.

The Hague

43% of the participants had some troubles in changing their behaviour. The same number found  relatively easy to do it. Some causes of difficulty in adjusting mobility behaviour frequently mentioned were work- and family-related requirements. Lack of alternative transport means was mentioned by 5% of the participants, while 7% mentioned the delay in RandstadRail service as the reason for their difficulty in adjusting their behaviour.

But after all, 86% per cent of the participants indicated that they would participate in a similar trial if they had the chance. Only 5% said that they would not participate.


It has been reported by businesses that the majority of businesses (83%) have not altered their servicing arrangements following the introduction of the charge.

The map above shows the charging scheme. The route shaded in red is Saddler Street which is the scheme’s only charged road.

There was a significant improvement in the public perception of the scheme since its introduction – 70% (a 21% increase from before the scheme was introduced) now believe that the charge is a good idea. In broader terms, there has been a rise to 78% in those who consider Durham City Centre to be a safe place to visit.


Based on the early consultation with stakeholders described above, the City of Edinburgh Council decided to start the development of a “New Transport Initiative” (NTI) in May 1999. Its aim was to take an imaginative approach to providing Edinburgh with a ‘world-class’ transport system that could sustain and facilitate the potential for economic growth, as well as being appropriate to its role as a major international city and Scotland’s capital. In so doing, the transport strategy would support Council aims of:

  • Promoting a healthy and sustainable environment

  • Developing the local economy

  • Tackling poverty and disadvantage.

The NTI was initiated at a time when national government policy on transport was going through a significant stage of development. Legislation was introduced at this time which, amongst other matters, proposed powers allowing local authorities to introduce road user charges. In Scotland, this was enacted in the Transport (Scotland) Act 2001.
The NTI study examined the options for achieving a step change in transport quality. Funding issues were a key focus of the initial stage of the study, which included examination of road user (congestion) charging as well as a wide range of other potential funding sources. Alternatives ranged from tourist taxes to bus quality partnerships, from parking charges to the Private Finance Initiative.
At the same time, the Council started to develop an integrated and consistent set of transport policies, linked with an appropriate project portfolio. The biggest component was a proposal to develop a light rail network for Edinburgh. This would form the core of an upgraded public transport system, integrating with improved rail and bus services, as well as linking with Park and Ride sites around the edge of the city. The investment strategy also included significant enhancement of the city centre environment to maintain its attractiveness as a shopping and tourist destination.
Public views were always seen as a key issue in the development of the initiative. A major consultation was undertaken in 1999, including the distribution of a questionnaire throughout Edinburgh. The questionnaire sought views in relation to three strategic transport policy options, as well as testing key objectives and components of the transport strategy. Around 19,000 responses were received with high levels of support (62%) shown for the strategic option including the concept of congestion charging (see table below). In addition to the public consultation, there was also extensive consultation with stakeholders.


The conclusions drawn from the consultation and an initial technical appraisal were that congestion charging was feasible, would reduce traffic levels, could generate substantial revenue for transport investment and would have no or very limited adverse economic impact if the charge was set at an appropriate level. In addition, there was a high degree of acceptance provided that the overall package was right. This gave the Council confidence to develop the proposals in more detail. The Scottish Executive agreed to match fund the development studies, with some further funding provided by an EU research project “PRoGRSS”.

The evolution of the scheme between this point and the referendum in February 2005 broadly followed the guidance on development of an Integrated Transport Initiative (ITI) issued in August 2001 by the Scottish Executive1]. This included a two-stage decision-making process, with “in-principle” and “detailed” approvals required from Ministers for an ITI. As well as requiring technical appraisal (STAG2]), the guidance sets out four policy criteria that Ministers require a charging scheme to meet:


  1. the charging scheme must reduce congestion and/or noise and emissions;

  2. the net revenues from charging will be additional;

  3. there is fair treatment of those who pay the charge (and/or suffer the congestion or environmental problem) and those who benefit from the scheme;

  4. a range of public transport improvements are in place before charging is introduced, with further improvements to follow.

Separately from this guidance, Ministers also indicated when giving approval in principle to the scheme in December 2002, that they would expect “clear public support” for a scheme to be demonstrated at the detailed stage.


To meet these requirements and ensure effective delivery if eventually approved, the development of the scheme from inception to the detailed, charging order, stage had to consider and balance technical, organisational and acceptance issues. Accordingly the main work streams were:


  • public and stakeholder attitude research;

  • design and technical appraisal of alternative scheme configurations;

  • business case development linking the charging scheme with an appropriate transport improvement package; and

  • examination and establishment of organisational structures and procurement arrangements for implementation.

Consultation with the public and stakeholders was essential to assist scheme design and aimed to maximise the acceptability of the proposals. It also provided the opportunity for informing the public about the objectives of the scheme. A comprehensive programme of consultation and market research was developed for the Council by the University of Westminster3]. The programme built on the initial consultation undertaken in 1999 and was supplemented by direct discussions with key stakeholders. Neighbouring local authorities were particularly important in this respect, particularly in regard to their concerns about the impact that an outer cordon would have on their citizens. The most recent market research illustrated in Figure 3 was carried out in Autumn 20034].

The technical assessment on which early decisions were based was supported by the central Scotland transport model developed for the Scottish Executive. To provide more robust estimates of the impacts of the scheme, a more appropriate strategic transport and land use modelling package was commissioned in December 2000. In addition, a methodology to forecast the impact of the initiative on the local economy – already highlighted as of key importance to city stakeholders – was required. An approach based on accessibility change linked to the transport and land use model described above was selected. The models were used to examine the impacts of the charging scheme and its associated transport investment package1].

1] DAVID SIMMONDS CONSULTANCY in collaboration with MVA, Edinburgh Integrated Transport Initiative: Economic Impact of ECCS/ITI Package, Cambridge, March 2004.

1] SCOTTISH EXECUTIVE DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT, Delivering Integrated Transport Initiatives through Road User Charging – Consultation and Approval Process: Guidance for Local Authorities, Edinburgh, August 2001.

2] SCOTTISH EXECUTIVE, Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG), Edinburgh, September 2003.

3] UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER, PrOGR€SS project: Public Consultation Strategy – Phase II: Preparatory Market Research, London, July 2001.

4] UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER, PrOGR€SS project: Edinburgh’s Integrated Transport Initiative – Phase V: Market Research, London, January 2004.


After almost a year of Ecopass implementation, people now begin asking to the Municipality whether or not making definitive the measure. Some associations like Legambiente, Genitori Antismog, Ambiente Milano and VAS Lombardia have supported a survey about a possible extension of Ecopass. The first results (the survey is still open) showed that 38% of respondents were in favour of an expansion of LTZ, the 31%, instead, was satisfied with the actual road pricing scheme but they would like to enlarge the charging also to the most polluting motorcycles and mopeds, just 18% would like to charge also Euro3 gasoline and Euro4 Diesel cars today exempt from Ecopass charge, and finally the 7% would like to increase the tariff in force. The fact that no one was against the Ecopass is because the survey aimed at understanding people’s opinions, but in the meantime all the questions were formulated in a way that when answering the interviewed could only comment upon how realize the most effectives charging modalities to reduce private cars use. There was not a direct question on whether or not continue to charge the city center access.


No Information available.


A good acceptability of the scheme has been expressed by the citizens.


Consultation activities

Public acceptance is considered to be an important part of any proposed scheme in Cambridge.

To that end a number of consultation activities have either taken place or are programmed, including:

  • Road shows across the county;
  • Online survey;
  • Stakeholder workshops (Cambridge x 3, Huntingdon, March, Ely, Sawston);
  • Breakfast briefings;
  • Special meetings – including Parish Councils, transport operators, the elderly, the disabled;
  • Hard-to-reach groups;
  • Engagement with schools – February 2008; and
  • Member and MPs – meetings and briefings.

By February 2008 approximately 1000 people had visited road shows and approximately 2,240 people had completed an online survey.

The key issues arising from the consultation activities to date are that designers should consider:

  • Discounts and exemptions of any proposed scheme;
  • Outbound trips should be thought about as well as inbound trips;
  • The cost of alternatives to car-borne travel;
  • The need for alternatives to be in place before any charge;
  • The extent of the charging zone;
  • Timescales; and
  • The need for action to reduce congestion.
It is evident that the local authority should think about all these issues in any proposed scheme.

Dutch National Case

No information available.


No information available.


No information available.


Short Term Impacts of the 1991 Scheme on City Centre Traders

Prior to implementation, there was a lot of concern about negative effects on the attractiveness of the CBD for business activity, and great uncertainty prevailed about the possible effects on shopping trips. For instance, a shopping survey in 1990 concluded that 25% of respondents in Trondheim and surrounding areas were likely to change their shopping behaviour because of the toll ring, by moving their shopping to other destinations or times. The follow-up study in 1992 revealed that respondents had changed their shopping behaviour only modestly (10% rather than 25%).

Trondheim Chamber of Commerce carried out a special sample survey of trade turnover in Trondheim starting September 1991 (one month before the opening of the toll ring) and ending September 1992. A sample of 40 firms representing about 25% of total turnover in Trondheim took part. The firms were located throughout the municipality (both inside and outside the toll ring) and covered the major business sectors. The conclusions from the study was that a long lasting trend of growth in areas outside and decline in areas inside of the toll cordon, levelled out during the study period. During the first months of 1992 there was evidence of some businesses located inside the toll ring losing trade. From the summer of 1992 no distortion of competition due to the toll ring could be read out of the statistics. Businesspeople located in the CBD had prior to the toll ring predicted major negative swings in trade once the toll ring came into operation. The Chamber of Commerce in its own study concluded that there was hardly any effect of the toll ring on trade at all.

A study of retail sales data for the period 1987 to 1997 shows that the CBD did loose trade in real terms in the period 1987 to 1990 (Figure below). Then, starting in the same year as the introduction of the toll ring, city centre trade has in real terms been on a general trend line of modest but steady growth. The loss in market share to other sectors in the municipality is simply a result of these sectors having a faster growth. It can be concluded that in spite of the toll ring, the city centre has had a modest growth in trade.

Short Term Impacts of the Discontinuation of Charging

shows what happened to CBD retail trade in relation to other areas in the municipality since the turn of the century. It should be noted that CBD now has a different definition from the one used in the previous figure. The long term trend of decreasing market shares has continued, even though the net sales volumes have grown modestly. However, the market share did not drop during 2005, and the drop during 2006 was smaller than in previous years. Still, the annulment of road user charging did not lead to an upswing in city centre trade during 2006.


Opinion polls on the attitudes to the Trondheim toll ring indicated decreased opposition after implementation. In April 1991, six months prior to the implementation date, about 70% of the respondents objected to the toll ring. In December 1991, two months after implementation, the negative share had dropped to below 50% (Figure below). During the summer of 1992 the mood was such that slightly more people were positive (37 %) than negative (35 %). However, as time went by, the negative share increased and the positive share decreased until a peak in October 2003, when four times more were negative than positive. The very low support in 2003 is related to negative publicity and discussions at that time about the immediate introduction of five new charge stations close to the city centre.

The November 2005 measurement can be interpreted as a continuation of the long term trend of increasing tiredness and frustration about the charging. The single group being most negative to urban tolling was daily car drivers. The most typical supporters were men living inside the original cordon and driving a car less frequently than on a daily basis. One possible explanation for the diminishing support is the lack of sufficient information and publicity about the purpose of charging, as time went on. Public relations work was taken much more seriously by the authorities prior to implementation and during the first year of operation. 

A strong indication of the importance of information is that when respondents were reminded about what type of projects the revenues from charging were financing, the support increased considerably. This can be seen in the figure below. When respondents in 2005 were asked about their attitudes to urban tolling, taking into account the use of revenues, the negative share decreased from 47% to 38%, and the positive share increased from 19% to 30%. The most typical supporters now were men in the 18-29 years age group.

What is perhaps more surprising, is the delight with which respondents in 2006 responded to the same question, when asked about their attitude to having had urban tolling in Trondheim. The negative share now dwindled to 27% and the positive share increased to 48%. Subgroups having high shares being positive or very positive to having had urban tolling were men, people living inside the old cordon and the 45-59 years old age group. Additionally, support increased with increasing income, increasing education level and decreasing car ownership.