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Urban Road User Charging Online Knowledge Base
What Are The Implications For Other Themes?There are the following implications for other themes:
• Objectives: Acceptability of urban road user charging varies considerably with the stated objectives of the scheme. If road user charging is presented or discussed without any objective it faces strong rejection. But if the stated objectives of the pricing strategy meet main public concerns, the willingness to adopt urban road user charging increases considerably. In general, reviewed results show that raising revenue for public transport investments either in services or in reduced fares is favoured most, and to a lesser extent revenue for road infrastructure investments.
• Scheme Design: System characteristics, especially the hypothecation of revenues, the complexity of the price structure and the level of charge influence acceptability. The higher and the less comprehensible the charges the less acceptable they are. Thus something simple as part of an integrated package of measures is recommended. Moreover the use of revenues is a key to both the efficiency and acceptability of transport pricing reforms.
• Technology and Business Systems: Privacy is no longer a major obstacle for acceptability. However, the technology and business systems need to work and be easy to use for the citizens. Any problems will be taken of by the media and subject to public discussion and in this sense may become an obstacle to the implementation
• Prediction: For equity considerations, models are needed which predict the impact of road user charging on individuals, and individual journeys, disaggregated by income, location, time of day and journey purpose; ideally those models should also identify impacts on special needs, such as disabled drivers and those carrying bulky loads. Where scheme design includes exemptions and rebates, models should ideally be able to assess their impacts. It is recognised that the prediction of acceptability is also a major barrier.
• Traffic effects: Direct evidence of reduced traffic levels and congestion after implementation should help reinforce the impression that the scheme is effective, and serve to increase acceptability. Such evidence will also help overcome any remaining misperceptions and mistrust. Where traffic levels or congestion have increased, for example outside a charging zone, it will be important to take remedial steps; these should also improve acceptability.
• Environment: An increased focus on the environmental benefits of urban road user charging has been shown to increase acceptability.
• Economy: The scale and direction of impacts on the local economy are difficult to estimate, and will be further affected by perceptions of the impact of pricing, any complementary policy initiatives, the resulting image of the charged area, and its relationship with competing centres. This uncertainty is one of the main reasons for cities’ reluctance to introduce urban road user charging. It is certainly a reason for low business acceptability prior implementation. On the other hand lack of public acceptability may well have an adverse impact on the urban economy and in the long-term on residential choice.
• Equity: Distributional as well as procedural aspects of equity and fairness need to be considered very carefully. Problems which are not an issue in the pre-implementation phase may become more critical the closer the introduction gets (e.g. privacy which relates to technology, reliability, trust).
• Appraisal: A scheme that may perform well in the appraisal which measures economic welfare/benefit may not be an acceptable scheme in the eyes of the public who have to bear the congestion charge.
• Transferability: The acceptability of urban road user charging may differ between locations for many reasons, including the level of familiarity with alternative transport pricing / travel demand management approaches, prevailing perceptions of transport problems and the history of local transport planning processes. But there seem to be similar patterns of response of the various stakeholders in the process of implementing urban road user charging schemes which are independent of the individual city and its context.
• Implementation: Low acceptability by citizens as well as the politicians and administrative decision-makers are regarded as the most important barriers to successful implementation of urban road user charging schemes. The closer and more specific the proposal of a road user charging scheme gets the more acceptability decreases. However, after implementation when benefits of such a scheme become apparent to the citizens it is likely that they change their mind in a positive direction.
• Evaluation: Full evaluation of a scheme after its implementation is probably less important in securing its acceptability than is the initial monitoring of traffic effects. However, a positive evaluation of a scheme in one city may help to convince stakeholders in other cities to accept proposals for URUC.
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