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1 Road Pricing and Public Acceptability Robin Lindsey Transportation Futures: Ontario Road Pricing Forum, November 13, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Road Pricing and Public Acceptability Robin Lindsey Transportation Futures: Ontario Road Pricing Forum, November 13, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Road Pricing and Public Acceptability Robin Lindsey Transportation Futures: Ontario Road Pricing Forum, November 13, 2008

2 2 Outline 1.Public attitudes to road pricing generally 2.Institutional and public attitudes in Canada

3 3 Traditional objections to road pricing [1] 1. Paying for something that was free C anadian roads traditionally provided publicly without direct user charges. 2.Double taxation Most road-pricing schemes not revenue neutral. The Netherlands intends to modify its current road tax system. UK has considered lowering fuel taxes if a national scheme is introduced.

4 4 Traditional objections to road pricing [2] 3.Inequitable With respect to income Higher-income groups more likely to gain because willing to pay more for travel time savings. Caveat: Lower-income groups could benefit if public transit service is improved. With respect to location Tolling of residential streets Tolling of road networks Japanese policy is not to differentiate toll rates by link

5 5 Traditional objections to road pricing [3] 4.System complexity People dislike complex price structures generally (driving, public transport, telecommunications …) This militates against varying tolls frequently by time of day, multiple charging points, discounts... Complex schemes that failed: Hong Kong proposals (1985, mid-1990s) Edinburgh double cordon (2005) New York City area-based scheme (2008) Complex schemes that succeeded : HOT lanes in US with dynamic tolls Electronic road-pricing in Singapore

6 6 Traditional objections to road pricing [4] 5.Invasion of privacy Largely addressed by anonymous electronic tolling technology Concern with satellite-based systems 6.Loss of retail business Retailers generally oppose road pricing initially. But: Studies indicate effects are modest Any lost business from drivers could be offset by gains from shoppers using other modes.

7 7 Opposition to UK national scheme 1.The idea of tracking every vehicle at all times is sinister and wrong. 2.Road pricing is already here with the high level of taxation on fuel. The more you travel - the more tax you pay. 3.It will be an unfair tax on those who live apart from families and poorer people who will not be able to afford the high monthly costs. 4.Please Mr Blair - forget about road pricing and concentrate on improving our roads to reduce congestion. 1. Invasion of privacy 2. Double taxation 3. Inequitable 4. Views improving roads as an alternative to tolls

8 8 Recent US survey evidence [1] Survey of 110 US public opinion studies of pricing Source: Zmud (2008, NuStats)

9 9 Recent US survey evidence [2] Source: Zmud (2008, NuStats)

10 10 Recent US survey evidence [3] Public support generally higher for: Specific projects with tangible benefits Revenues earmarked for highways or public transit Not to special interest groups such as investors Simple projects Prefer toll roads to mileage fees Tolls preferred to taxes or reduced service Source: Zmud (2008, NuStats)

11 11 Attitudes before and after Support increases after tolling begins Norway, London, Stockholm, U.S. HOT lanes …

12 12 Outline 1.Public attitudes to road pricing generally 2.Institutional and public attitudes in Canada

13 13 Federal studies Royal Commission on National Passenger Transportation (1992) National Transportation Act Review Commission (1993) Canada Transportation Act Review (2001) Investigation of the Full Costs of Transportation (2003) Studies supported marginal social cost pricing for transport and the user pays principle

14 14 Historic opposition to tolls [1] Fredericton-Moncton highway project In 1998, New Brunswick government entered a PPP (design, finance, build, operate & maintain, 25 years). Toll to be imposed on pre-existing toll-free section. Public resistance to toll contributed to downfall of government. New government revised contract to compensate contractor with shadow tolls. Toll collection ended in 2000.

15 15 Historic opposition to tolls [2] Coquihalla Highway Operated as public toll road 1986-2008. In 2003, BC government proposed privatization on 55-year lease. Car toll expected to jump from $10 to $13, and rise over time. Massive opposition. Government backed down. Car toll remained at $10 until tolling ended.

16 16 Public attitudes in Québec Preferred type of user charge Source: Léger Marketing (2007)

17 17 Institutional attitudes in Vancouver [1] Governments and agencies

18 18 Institutional attitudes in Vancouver [2] TransLink Strategy Discussion Guide (Oct. 2007) 6 wrote in favour of tolls. Other 2 no mention.

19 19 Public attitudes in Canada generally Tolls more acceptable: On new capacity (especially if not otherwise built) If a reasonable toll-free alternative exists If revenues earmarked to the tolled facility If toll increases are moderate Overall: Attitudes vary across governments, other institutions and the public.

20 20 References Léger Marketing. 2007. Opinion of Quebeckers on road network funding. Montreal Economic Institute Research Report September 2007, MEI-Journal de Montréal-Léger Marketing Opinion Poll, September 2007 (www.iedm.org/uploaded/pdf/sondage0907_en.pdf).www.iedm.org/uploaded/pdf/sondage0907_en.pdf Lindsey, Robin. 2006. Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Highway Pricing?: The Intellectual History of an Idea. Econ Journal Watch. 3(2): 292-379. Lindsey, Robin. 2007. Congestion Relief: Assessing the Case for Road Tolls in Canada. C.D. Howe Institute Commentary 248. Lindsey, R. 2008. Prospects for Urban Road Pricing in Canada. G. Burtless and J. Rothenberg Pack (eds.), Brookings Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs: 2008, 235-293. Schade, J. and Schlag, B. eds. 2003. Acceptability of Transport Pricing Strategies, Elsevier, Amsterdam. Zmud, J. 2008. The public supports pricing If … A synthesis of public opinion studies on tolling and road pricing. International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, Tollways, Winter, 28-39 (http://www.ibtta.org/files/PDFs/win08_Zmud.pdf).http://www.ibtta.org/files/PDFs/win08_Zmud.pdf


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