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Road User Charging: Acceptability and Effectiveness

By Sittha Jaensirisak

Abstract

One of the major barriers to implementation of road user charging is how to design a scheme that is simultaneously acceptable to the public and effective in achieving its objective. The aim of this research was to study how road user charging can be designed to achieve acceptability\ud and effectiveness. Acceptability was reflected by voting behaviour, in which individuals were asked whether they were willing to vote for charging schemes. Effectiveness in reducing congestion was evaluated by mode switching of commuters. The research demonstrated the effects of the system benefits (car and bus travel time reduction, environmental improvement and revenue use) and the system features (charging levels, charging methods, charged times and charged areas). It also investigated the impacts of personal characteristics and perceptions. The research also examined the effect of selfish and social perspectives, reflected by the perceptions of benefits to self and to society, on acceptability.\ud \ud Paper based SP questionnaires were distributed to residents and employees in Leeds and London between November 2000 and March 2001. A total of 830 responses were received. The\ud analysis technique was based on random utility theory, which was used to formulate the multinomial-logit based models. The standard logit model was used to demonstrate the overall effects of variables for the whole sample. The segmentation model, based on the incremental factors, was used to identify the different effects for different groups of people. The random parameters logit model was used to examine taste variations (heterogeneity) among individuals\ud frorn unobserved factors, which were unable to be captured by the segmentation model.\ud \ud The study found that although more highly effective charging schemes (with higher levels of charge) were less acceptable, while more highly acceptable schemes (with lower levels of charge) were not substantially less effective. In other words, effective charging schemes were\ud not always unacceptable.\ud \ud Acceptability varies substantially across system characteristics. Acceptable road user charging\ud schemes can be designed by limiting the area of charge to within the city centre and having a fixed charge per day. Support would be increased significantly if the scheme was expected to bring substantial environmental improvement. Over 50% of people would vote for this scheme, if the charging level is less than £3 per day in Leeds, and less than £7 per day in London.\ud \ud Effectiveness in reducing car use had a small variation across the factors. Overall, any charging system is relatively effective in reducing car commuting. Even at £l per day, over 20% of car commuters in Leeds and about 30% in London would switch to non-car modes or uncharged\ud times. When the charge rises to £7 per day, the reductions would increase to around 40%. A small number of non-car users would change to use cars because of car delayed-time reductions.\ud \ud The acceptability and effectiveness can be improved by provision of clear information on the principles and objectives of charging, on the severity of congestion and pollution, on the adverse effects of car use, and on the effectiveness of road user charging in reducing the\ud problems. In addition, individuals need to be convinced that road user charging will provide benefits both to themselves and to society as a whole.\ud \ud In brief, this research suggests that the relationship between acceptability and effectiveness of road user charging schemes is not high. It is not simply the case that highly effective schemes are less acceptable. Road user charging can be designed to achieve high acceptability and effectiveness

Publisher: Institute for Transport Studies (Leeds)
Year: 2002
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:667

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