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Factoring Pricing into the Planning Process Yvonne Need, AVV Transport Research Center, Netherlands Robert Dunphy, Urban Land Institute PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE OF PRICING SCHEMES FOR with individuals stating that they themselves do not THE NETHERLANDS drive more than necessary. The public also expressed concerns about fairness, Yvonne Need and particularly the fear that pricing will lead to a system in which the rich will be able to drive as much as they The Netherlands' experience with road pricing dates please while the poor won't be able to afford to drive back to 1995, when a coalition of political leaders for- anymore. Concerns about fairness also centered on a mally accepted pricing as a means to manage traffic and fear of fraud, such that honest people would end up finance infrastructure. However, in the following years shouldering most of the financial burden. Finally, a small the policy received significant scrutiny from Parliament but passionate majority voiced anxiety about pricing's and opposition from the Dutch motoring lobby. By implications for personal privacy. 2001, transportation officials were focusing on a simple Given the public's concerns about congestion pricing, charge-per-kilometer approach, because they had found I would like to put forward a series of recommendations that actual congestion-based charges suffered from a for advancing the political viability of congestion pric- troubling lack of public acceptance. ing. The recommendations include a commitment to use Surveys found little public acceptance for pricing, or strong communications as the pillar of the introduction feigned acceptance. The surveys also identified a signif- strategy, an effort to discuss and demonstrate antici- icant distrust of government, which primarily took the pated effects at the individual and societal levels, and form of suspicion that road pricing is meant not to pre- assurance that all claims can be substantiated. It is also vent congestion but rather to collect more money for important to develop a good marketing strategy and the state. A companion concern was that prices would state the program's goals clearly. From a technical per- go up any time the government felt the need for more spective, planners should avoid starting with a low price revenue. that is sure to be raised later, and they should avoid The surveys also revealed a remarkable lack of funding systems that force citizens to pay for the costs awareness of the nature of congestion. Most respon- of introducing the program. It is also worthwhile to dents said that the biggest problem on the roads was the identify groups that will gain and groups that will lose behavior of other road users; only 32% of respondents out so that any equity implications of the pricing pro- named congestion itself as a problem. Congestion was gram can be directly addressed. Finally, in recognition also seen as a simple fact of life and as something that of the concerns raised by the small but vocal minority would be impervious to any policy initiatives seeking to who are especially concerned about privacy, it is impor- influence it. Understandably, most respondents viewed tant for the program design to include safeguards that congestion as a societal problem produced by others, guarantee the privacy of system users. 57