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1 of 18 What do we know about public attitudes? Professor Glenn Lyons Centre for Transport & Society, UWE, Bristol Road User Charging: Building a consensus,

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Presentation on theme: "1 of 18 What do we know about public attitudes? Professor Glenn Lyons Centre for Transport & Society, UWE, Bristol Road User Charging: Building a consensus,"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 of 18 What do we know about public attitudes? Professor Glenn Lyons Centre for Transport & Society, UWE, Bristol Road User Charging: Building a consensus, Wednesday 26 th October

2 2 of 18 Overview Origins of the presentation Attitudinal surveys results Topic area findings Summarising remarks

3 3 of 18 Origins of the presentation A review commissioned in March 2004 to inform the Governments National Road Pricing Feasibility Study An evidence-based review of attitudes to road pricing with the following objectives: –to undertake a comprehensive review of the evidence-base on attitudes to road pricing in the United Kingdom, and in other countries; and –to highlight and prioritise areas where our understanding of public and business attitudes could usefully be developed. Some 200 articles catalogued and reviewed 24 studies concerning attitudinal surveys Key topic areas identified

4 4 of 18 Attitudinal surveys results

5 5 of 18 Revenue-return versus no return StudyYearBase propositionno-return ratio revenue- return ratio % difference CfIT2000urban congestion charging0.510.95+86 CfIT2000motorway charging0.180.37+106 CfIT2001urban congestion charging0.791.80+128 CfIT2002congestion charging0.532.52+375 Dublin2003urban congestion charging0.410.74+80 RAC2003satellite tracking and charging system-1.75- ratio = % support / % oppose (if ratio>1 then net support) revenue return = improvements to public transport 2003 surveys occurred after the launch of the London scheme 25a 25b 25c 107 79

6 6 of 18 Direct versus indirect returns StudyYearBase propositiondirect ratio indirect ratio % difference in ratios CfIT2000urban congestion charging1.170.95-23 CfIT2000motorway charging0.540.37-46 CfIT2001urban congestion charging (VED)1.891.80-5 CfIT2001urban congestion charging (FD)1.931.80-7 CfIT2002congestion charging (VED)2.432.52+4 CfIT2002congestion charging (FD)2.162.52+14 RAC2003satellite tracking and charging system2.281.75-30 Direct = benefit to individual car user Indirect = benefit to public transport 25a 25b 25c 79 2003 survey occurred after the launch of the London scheme

7 7 of 18 Limitations of inter-study comparisons incomplete understanding of the nature, design and timing of each survey prevailing externalities seldom designed with inter-study comparison in mind time-series surveys an exception ABD website: Road Pricing Proposals - Feedback to a Commercial Radio Online Survey July 2004 65% of respondents were OPPOSED to Darling's road pricing proposals.

8 8 of 18 1.The importance of trade-offs 2.Informed attitudes 3.Determinants of attitudes 4.Disaggregating the public 5.Attitude shapers 6.Technologies 7.Equity 8.Business attitudes 9.Success and failure Topic area findings

9 9 of 18 The importance of trade-offs across national cultures acceptability of road pricing improves significantly when the revenues are hypothecated to the development of transport generally most evidence on trade-offs concerns urban road pricing unclear what monetary value motorists attach to congestion reduction and time saving it is possible to achieve the twin goals of effectiveness and acceptability RESEARCH NEEDED TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE (DYNAMICS OF) TRADE-OFFS BETWEEN EFFECTIVENESS AND ACCEPTABILITY

10 10 of 18 Informed attitudes level of knowledge or awareness is a determinant of attitude any proposed road pricing scheme needs to be one which can be amenable to public understanding an S-shaped time profile of acceptability may describe the process of urban road pricing acceptability the motivation for knowledge acquisition changes from scheme concept to planned implementation it is posited that the act of information provision could in itself could engender trust and acceptance how perceptions and attitudes are influenced by the media, personal contacts and government information campaigns is poorly understood RESEARCH NEEDED TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE DYNAMICS OF HOW ATTITUDES ARE FORMED OVER TIME IN THE FACE OF KNOWLEDGE ACQUISITION FROM DIFFERENT SOURCES

11 11 of 18 Determinants of attitudes perceptions are facts to those who hold them non car users perceive both themselves and society as being better off while car users face conflicting motives of self-interest and social interest relatively few studies have addressed the question of which determinants influence the degree of acceptability perception of the primary policy objectives is significant social norms, personal outcome expectations and perceived effectiveness are positively connected with acceptability while socio-economic characteristics such as income exert much less influence attitudes appear to be more than just a reflection of self-interest RESEARCH NEEDED TO RECOGNISE AND UNDERSTAND THE LINKS BETWEEN UNDERLYING VALUES AND THE FORMATION OF ATTITUDES

12 12 of 18 Disaggregating the public attitudes to pricing are more sympathetic in London than in other parts of the country reasons for these differences are not clear nor is there an understanding of what distinguishes supportive Londoners from unsupportive Londoners few accounts of attitudinal surveys attempt substantially to disaggregate their sample in order to pinpoint respondent characteristics of significance surveys focus on the state of collective attitude rather than on understanding the makeup of that collective view LONGER TERM RESEARCH NEEDED TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE INFLUENCE OF GEOGRAPHICAL, SPATIAL, SOCIAL, INSTITUTIONAL AND PERSONAL DIFFERENCES ON ATTITUDES

13 13 of 18 Attitude shapers careful choice of which authority regulates, administers and implements any pricing measure, and the legitimacy that such an agency has in the eyes of stakeholders, may have an important influence over acceptability the way in which the process leading to implementation is handled can be significant with international evidence reflecting both successes and failures little understanding of the interplay and dynamics of policies on pricing held by different key voices (e.g. Select Committee, CfIT, AA) the influence of leadership and policy entrepreneurs is acknowledged it is conjectured that the media can influence the results of attitude surveys as can the dissemination of such results to the public at large RESEARCH IS NEEDED TO UNDERSTAND THE INFLUENCE AND DYNAMICS OF AND INTERPLAY BETWEEN THE DIFFERENT POLICY VOICES

14 14 of 18 Technologies if road pricing technology does not work or is not easily understood by the public then its credibility is fatally undermined technology can be instrumental in changing attitudes and acceptance at the point of and beyond implementation by allowing the charging system to be adapted to the needs and sensitivities of the public although technology allows greater scope for design there is an impression that many proposed schemes remain unimaginative there is little evidence on the significance of protection of privacy though available findings suggest this is currently of relatively minor importance though this may change if road pricing becomes a more popular policy solution THERE IS A GENERAL NEED TO ACCOUNT FOR HOW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS CAN POSITIVELY OR OTHERWISE DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY INFLUENCE ATTITUDES

15 15 of 18 Equity despite several surveys revealing equity to be a prime element in acceptability much debate on equity issues has been theoretical perceptions of inequity can fuel opposition to road pricing propositions for affected individuals or organisations equity can be spatial and/or social it is important to understand different perceptions of fairness amongst stakeholders and incorporate responses to these in scheme design A NEED FOR RESEARCH TO UNDERSTAND HOW INTERPRETATIONS OF FAIRNESS DIFFER ACROSS A WIDE RANGE OF STAKEHOLDERS AND HOW TO ACCOMMODATE THIS INTO SCHEME DESIGN TO MAXIMISE THE NUMER OF WINNERS

16 16 of 18 Business attitudes the evidence base is much more limited in relation to business attitudes to road pricing and surveys to date have tended to be restricted in scope in terms of the size and type of business contacted impacts of charging for businesses in London were found to vary considerably by economic sector one study suggests that business may be as much concerned with fairness and equity issues as they are with the potential for economic displacement there is a lack of studies which attempt to examine the structure and representative character of national and local business networks in relation to the road pricing debate MORE REPRESENTATIVE SURVEYS OF BUSINESS ATTITUDES ARE REQUIRED WHICH CONSIDER EFFECTS OF ECONOMIC SECTOR, SIZE AND LOCATION AND HOW BUSINESS KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDES MAY SHIFT OVER TIME

17 17 of 18 Success and failure in the introduction of road pricing while a number of articles examine reasons for success or failure of specific schemes, comparative studies are uncommon reasons for success include: intolerable traffic problems; adequate alternative(s) to car use; political conviction and stability; a single empowered delivery agency; accepted technology; hypothecation and compensation of losers; education; and clear business strategy reasons for failure include: political uncertainty; poor communication from government to the electorate; loose ends to be seized on by opponents; failure to engage with the public in debate and failure to be specific about use of revenue it is suggested that gaining national acceptance for a national scheme will be more challenging than the education and participation of a discrete and defined section of the public concerning a local scheme A COMPARATIVE ANALYTICAL STUDY IS ADVOCATED TO DEVELOP A BEST PRACTICE GUIDE TO POLICY MAKING AND IMPLEMENTATION

18 18 of 18 Summarising remarks There is an abundance of literature on attitudes to road pricing which ably points to the pertinent issues but leaves a trail of evidence gaps It is suggested that a knowledge of what attitudes are held is of less value (though far from unimportant) to policy considerations than a much needed greater knowledge of why different attitudes are held and whether and how attitudes can be influenced Attitudes are not static and recent developments in the UK have moved us into uncharted territory in terms of factors that affect attitudes – as such the relevance of much research is diminished over time

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