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Equity effects of congestion pricing: Quantitative methodology and a case study for Stockholm

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  • Eliasson, Jonas
  • Mattsson, Lars-Göran

Abstract

It is widely recognised that congestion pricing could be an effective measure to solve environmental and congestion problems in urban areas--a reform that normally also would generate a net welfare surplus. Despite this the implementation of congestion pricing has been very slow. One reason for a low public and political acceptance could be that equity impacts have not been given enough concern. In studies of distributional impacts of congestion pricing it has often been claimed that the reform is regressive rather than progressive even if there are studies claiming the opposite. We develop a method for detailed, quantitative assessment of equity effects of road pricing and apply it to a real-world example, namely a proposed congestion-charging scheme for Stockholm. The method simultaneously takes into account differences in travel behaviour, in preferences (such as values of time) and in supply of travel possibilities (car ownership, public transport level-of-service etc.). We conclude that the two most important factors for the net impact of congestion pricing are the initial travel patterns and how revenues are used. Differences in these respects dwarf differences in other factors such as values of time. This is accentuated by the fact that the total collected charges are more than three times as large as the net benefits. With respect to different groups, we find that men, high-income groups and residents in the central parts of the city will be affected the most. If revenues are used for improving public transport, this will benefit women and low-income groups the most. If revenues are used for tax cuts, the net benefits will be about equal for men and women on the average, while it naturally will benefit high-income groups. Given that it is likely that the revenues will be used to some extent to improve the public transport system, we conclude that the proposed congestion-charging scheme for Stockholm is progressive rather than regressive.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice.

Volume (Year): 40 (2006)
Issue (Month): 7 (August)
Pages: 602-620

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Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:40:y:2006:i:7:p:602-620

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  1. Kockelman, Kara M. & Kalmanje, Sukumar, 2005. "Credit-based congestion pricing: a policy proposal and the public's response," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(7-9), pages 671-690.
  2. Small, Kenneth A., 1992. "Using the Revenues from Congestion Pricing," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt32p9m3mm, University of California Transportation Center.
  3. Georgina Santos & Laurent Rojey, 2004. "Distributional impacts of road pricing: The truth behind the myth," Transportation, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 21-42, February.
  4. Wong, Walter K.I. & Noland, Robert B. & Bell, Michael G.H., 2005. "The theory and practice of congestion charging," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(7-9), pages 567-570.
  5. Olszewski, Piotr & Xie, Litian, 2005. "Modelling the effects of road pricing on traffic in Singapore," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(7-9), pages 755-772.
  6. Saleh, Wafaa & Farrell, Séona, 2005. "Implications of congestion charging for departure time choice: Work and non-work schedule flexibility," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(7-9), pages 773-791.
  7. Small, Kenneth A., 1983. "The incidence of congestion tolls on urban highways," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 90-111, January.
  8. Amihai Glazer & Esko Niskanen, 2000. "Which Consumers Benefit from Congestion Tolls?," Discussion Papers 216, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  9. de Palma, André & Kilani, Moez & Lindsey, Robin, 2005. "Congestion pricing on a road network: A study using the dynamic equilibrium simulator METROPOLIS," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(7-9), pages 588-611.
  10. Viegas, José M., 2001. "Making urban road pricing acceptable and effective: searching for quality and equity in urban mobility," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 289-294, October.
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