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Urban Road User Charging Online Knowledge Base
What Do We Mean By These Objectives?
The classification proposed in CURACAO presents a wide range of objectives that can be considered by cities while implementing a road pricing scheme. Among these different objectives, it is clear that some of them are considered as secondary impacts or constraints more than as primary aims of road user charging. However, all of these objectives can form part of the cities’ policy plans and can be accomplished in part by road pricing schemes. We provide definitions for each below.
The main reason for transport inefficiency is congestion. Congestion can be caused by:
The last of these is aggravated by the failure of drivers to appreciate the delay they cause to others when they enter an already crowded road. Road pricing can be used to impose the costs of these delays on the drivers who cause them. Hence the focus of road pricing is on dealing with congestion brought about by demand/supply conditions.
However, time lost is not the only external effect of congestion; the overuse of roads also leads to more pollutant emissions, to more noise and to more accidents. It can also reduce the attractiveness and vitality of city centres and have a knock on effect on business. Thus congestion relief can contribute to several of the objectives listed here.
Poor integration of the transport system with the rest of the city has negative impacts on street and outdoor liveability.
Finally, increasing liveability translates into increasing comfort while enjoying a city. This is important for citizens (80% of Europeans live in urban environments), tourists and visitors. Higher liveability levels improve the image of a city.
Urban transport creates considerable health hazards. The main generators are air pollutants, but noise and stress can also contribute. Increasingly, too, it is being recognised that lack of exercise through excessive car use can contribute to a range of health problems.
Pollution causes respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases. Long periods of exposure to pollutant emissions can reduce life expectancy (Bickel and Rainer, 2005). The main diseases caused are asthma, chronic acute bronchitis, pulmonary cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia. Many of the pollutants which contribute to these diseases are generated at higher levels when congestion occurs. In 2000, researchers estimated that in Austria, France and Switzerland, about 6% of the total number of deaths in those countries were due to atmospheric pollution and around half were directly due to motorised traffic (Künzli et al, 2000).
Urban transport health externalities have both direct and indirect economic impacts. Direct costs are hospitalisation, rehabilitation, medication and medical diagnostics. Indirect costs are due to lost productivity and premature death. The annual economic burden of respiratory diseases in Europe is estimated by the ELF to be approximately €102 billion or €118 per capita in 2000. The factors costing the most are lost work days, accounting for €48.3 billion or 47.4%, and inpatient care €17.8 billion or 17.5%. Outpatient care contributes a further €9.1 billion (8.9%) and prescription drugs add €6.7 billion (6.6%). Premature mortality and rehabilitation are estimated to contribute another €20 billion (19.6%). Once more, urban transport is not the only contributor to this problem but it does contribute substantially to it.
The estimated impacts on health from noise or stress are difficult to assess, but sleep deprivation and intense stress is medically known to have a negative influence on health. A German study suggests that some 2000 deaths occur prematurely in Germany alone each year as a result of traffic noise (Schade, 2003).
Equity and Social inclusion
The concept of equity is frequently used to describe the fair distribution of impacts across the whole population, so that everyone takes home a share of both the benefits and the disadvantages. Equity in the transport market means affording reasonably comparable mobility opportunities to all citizens. In other words, it means ensuring travel opportunities to citizens irrespective of where they live, access to mobility irrespective of what they earn, of their age, their gender and their journey purpose.
The way citizens are confronted with environmental, health and safety impacts caused by the transport system is also part of the equity objective. Transport externalities should be borne by inhabitants in ways which reflect their ability to adjust to, or avoid them
The objective of social inclusion entails the improvement of access to the full range of services available to society. Excluded individuals or groups must be addressed, such as people without a car and those with mobility impairments. However, social inclusion also refers to easy access to employment, hospitals, schools, leisure facilities and shops. A detailed discussion of equity issues is provided in Chapter 10.
Unsafe transport systems generate accidents. The objective of safety is to reduce the number of accidents for all modes, and initiate a decline in the severity of traffic casualties.
Urban transport is responsible for 33% of all fatal accidents involving road transport in Europe. Even if the number of fatal accidents is on the decline in the EU, the European Commission highlights the need for an even greater decrease (CEC, 2006). Surveys designed to value the external costs of road accidents confirm the high willingness to pay of citizens to reduce road casualties. Thus safety improvements have positive impacts on economic transport system efficiency. HEATCO (Odgaard et al, 2005) confirms high economic values assigned to safety features all around Europe and the 2004 Highways Economic Note No. 1 attest to the need for prevention and action.
Transport systems have negative impacts on the environment. Urban transport is responsible for 40% of CO2 emissions and 70% of other produced pollutants from transport (CEC, 2006). The high concentration of cars and the resulting congestion contribute to this global trend.
The main objectives of environmental protection are to:
• reduce regional pollution responsible for today’s poor air quality, including Particulate Matter (PM10) particles, NOx and SO2 emissions;
Even if few road pricing systems have been implemented as environmental measures, many are designed with this objective in mind. In some cases the objective is to reduce the impacts of traffic, but in others the intention is to protect certain areas such as city centres. A detail discussion of the environmental effects is presented in Chapter 8.
Efficiency of transport systems has effects on business conditions and on local economic development. Economic benefits from road pricing come principally through accessibility improvements. The traditional argument has been that congestion hampers business productivity and labour markets. There is also evidence that the environment can have a significant impact on many economic activities, including retailing. However as Chapter 9 illustrates, our understanding of the linkages between economic development and congestion on one hand and economic development and road pricing on the other, is not sufficient at present to provide a verdict on the impact of road pricing on economic development.
The intergenerational equity objective seeks to improve the opportunities for future generations, ensuring that the general life conditions are equal to or better than those experienced by the current generation.
The entire range of conditions affected by the transport system is therefore considered:
• To guarantee at least the same welfare level;
Considerations about impacts for the future generations are particularly important when targeting sustainable development.
Implementation of road pricing generates revenues and contributes to financing other projects and supporting other operational costs. In the case of Norwegian road pricing schemes, revenues were set as the primary objective. However, the UNAQ results show that raising revenue is generally deemed a secondary purpose.
Efficient use of revenue is also crucial from an equity point of view. If pricing schemes make someone better off, they also make others worse off. Studies like REVENUE (Ricci et al, 2006) have shown that if revenues are allocated properly then the negative effects of inequity can be mitigated
Whilst a pure “revenue maximisation” model would not be appealing on political grounds, an interrelated objective of the agency in charge is to minimise the cost of toll collection. As discussed in Chapter 5, keeping costs down will ensure that there is revenue for redistribution.
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