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Urban Road User Charging Online Knowledge Base
What Are The Policy Implications?
There is a very wide range of design options for urban road user charging schemes, including the basis for charging, the area charged, the times of day charged, the levels of charge and any arrangements for exemptions and variations by type of vehicle or user. This variety means that it should be possible to design a scheme to meet any given set of policy objectives. However, it also implies that the performance of road user charging schemes is likely to be dependent on the design options chosen. This has been borne out in theoretical studies. It is therefore important to be clear on the objectives before starting the design process, and to test the design options to ensure that the one selected is that which best meets the city’s objectives.
Elements of scheme design have many direct implications on policy, and therefore need to be fine tuned with other measures in the policy package. For instance, public transport may need to be improved, so that people who are priced out from driving a car by congestion charging are given an acceptable alternative. Another example is that the charging regime may need to be modified by exemptions for certain groups or special rules like only one payment per hour or a maximum number of payments per day or month, to cater for social equity and ensuring acceptability.
It is important to keep in mind the dynamic nature of an implemented URUC scheme. As mentioned in Section 3.2.3, a scheme design that is actually in operation affects a number of political goals like congestion relief, mobility, environment, social equity and environment. The balance of objectives may well change in response to the impacts of the scheme over time and reflect changes such as traffic growth, economic growth, and environmental concerns. This has been the case for several of the Norwegian urban schemes. It is better first to stimulate acceptance by introducing a fairly simple scheme, and later to use the experience and increased acceptance of it to design a scheme that is more optimal or economically efficient.
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