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O N E S T E P F O RWA R D , T W O S T E P S B A C K ? 83 fits--has been highlighted (Schade and Schlag 2000). charge of 5 per day (equivalent to the scheme since The benefits that will influence acceptability are the time implemented) would be acceptable to the majority, and savings and environmental improvements. However, it is a charge of 7 would be, provided that it generated sub- uncertain that travel time reduction and environmental stantial environmental benefits and reductions in delay improvement are perceived by the public to compensate for cars. In Leeds, charge levels of 2 or 3 would be for the charge (Giuliano 1992; Harrington et al. 2001). acceptable to the majority, but only given substantial System features will influence acceptability. There is environmental improvements and reductions in delay a preference for simple systems (Bonsall and Cho 1999), for cars. although Schlag and Schade (2000) found little differ- ence between distance-based, congestion-based, and cordon pricing. Equity Last but not least, the level of acceptability of road pricing can be expected to be critically dependent on the Equity issues have been a focus of concern for a consid- level of charge. In almost all cases where the charge has erable time (Cohen 1987; Else 1986; Small 1983). Vari- received attention, no quantified relationship between ous definitions and dimensions of equity as a result of acceptance and the charge has been developed (Schade road pricing have been suggested. Viegas (2001) and and Schlag 2000; PATS Consortium 2001). Although Jones (2002) pointed out that the definition of equity in details are not provided, Hrsman (2001) states that transport largely concerns fairness of the right of access "acceptance relates to the level of charges and to the use to transport infrastructure for different groups of people. of toll revenues. Experiences from the PRIMA case cities This raises the question of whether road pricing is a fair indicate that fairly low starting levels are needed and that allocation mechanism among different groups of indi- the charges can be increased successively to meet finan- viduals. Giuliano (1994) suggested that the equity issue cial requirements." The notable exception in this context in road pricing must consider both the distribution of is the Harrington et al. (2001) study, which quantified the benefits associated with reduced congestion (including effect of congestion pricing on voting behavior. side benefits such as pollution reduction and improved Our own research (Jaensirisak et al. 2003a) has public transport service) and the distribution of costs attempted to fill some of the gaps in this understanding needed to achieve the congestion benefits. Schade and and developed relationships that enabled acceptability Schlag (2003) suggested the psychological view on the to be estimated in terms of the characteristics of the issue with the reference to the term "justice," which may scheme. While we found road pricing to be unaccept- be different from the idea of a fair allocation mechanism. able to the majority, some personal characteristics made Regardless of the exact definition of equity, for ana- it more or less so. Charging was more acceptable to non- lytical purposes it is necessary to define groups of poten- car users, those who perceived pollution and congestion tial winners and losers from road pricing (Langmyhr as very serious, and, to a lesser extent, those who con- 1997). In the main, there are two dimensions of equity: sidered the current situation unacceptable and who vertical and horizontal. The vertical dimension of the judged road pricing to be an effective means of reducing equity issue concerns the unequal impact from the congestion. Conversely, older respondents were more scheme across different groups of the population segre- likely to judge charging as less acceptable. Somewhat gated by income and socioeconomic characteristics. For surprisingly, income did not influence acceptability. instance, one may argue that the implementation of a Among the potential impacts of charging, an ability road user charging system will benefit the rich while dis- to achieve substantial environmental improvements was advantaging the poor (or lower-income group). The ver- the single most important contributor to increased tical equity analysis is mostly associated with the acceptability, followed by contributions to reducing protection of those in the worst conditions (PATS Con- delayed time for cars. There was a preference for using sortium 2001). Jones (2002) referred to vertical equity the revenue to reduce taxes, but the impact was small. as social equity. The horizontal dimension of the equity As expected, design features were found to influence impact is referred to as the spatial equity impact or ter- acceptability, which could be increased by limiting ritorial equity. The horizontal equity impact can be charging to the central area and, to a lesser extent, peak described as the impact on the population living in dif- periods; using cordon-based charges rather than contin- ferent parts of a certain area. If the scheme benefits only uous charging regimes; and imposing lower levels of a small group of people from some areas but the rest of charge. the population experiences a decline in social welfare, By combining all of these results, it proved possible the scheme can be argued to be inequitable. to specify design combinations that would be voted for Early attempts in dealing with the equity issue were by the majority of the population. In London a cordon mainly involved in analyzing the impact of road pricing charging scheme limited to the central area with a on vertical equity (Anderson and Mohring 1995; Frid-