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Political and Public Acceptability of Congestion Pricing: Ideology and Self Interest

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  • Bjorn Harsman

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  • John Quigley

Abstract

Studies of the “stated preferences” of households generally report public and political opposition by urban commuters to congestion pricing. It is thought that this opposition inhibits or precludes tolls and pricing systems that would enhance efficiency in the use of scarce roadways. This paper analyzes the only case in which road pricing was decided by a citizen referendum on the basis of experience with a specific pricing system. The city of Stockholm introduced a toll system for seven months in 2006, after which citizens voted on its permanent adoption. We match precinct voting records to citizen commute times and costs by traffic zone, and we analyze patterns of voting in response to economic and political incentives. We document political and ideological incentives for citizen choice, but we also find that the pattern of time savings and incremental costs exerts a powerful influence on voting behavior. In this instance, at least, citizen voters behave as if they value commute time highly. When they have experienced first-hand the out-of-pocket costs and time-savings of a specific pricing scheme, they are prepared to adopt freely policies which reduce congestion on urban motorways.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa10p1477.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa10p1477

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  1. DeSerpa, A C, 1971. "A Theory of the Economics of Time," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 81(324), pages 828-46, December.
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  5. Eliasson, Jonas & Mattsson, Lars-Göran, 2006. "Equity effects of congestion pricing: Quantitative methodology and a case study for Stockholm," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 602-620, August.
  6. Winslott-Hiselius, Lena & Brundell-Freij, Karin & Vagland, Asa & Byström, Camilla, 2009. "The development of public attitudes towards the Stockholm congestion trial," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 269-282, March.
  7. Eliasson, Jonas & Hultkrantz, Lars & Nerhagen, Lena & Rosqvist, Lena Smidfelt, 2009. "The Stockholm congestion - charging trial 2006: Overview of effects," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 240-250, March.
  8. Leon N. Moses & Harold F. Williamson & Jr., 1963. "Value of Time, Choice of Mode, and the Subsidy Issue in Urban Transportation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 71, pages 247.
  9. Eliasson, Jonas, 2008. "Lessons from the Stockholm congestion charging trial," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 395-404, November.
  10. Cherlow, Jay R, 1981. " Measuring Values of Travel Time Savings," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 360-71, March.
  11. Eliasson, Jonas, 2009. "A cost-benefit analysis of the Stockholm congestion charging system," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 468-480, May.
  12. Jonathan Leape, 2006. "The London Congestion Charge," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 157-176, Fall.
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Cited by:
  1. Eliasson, Jonas & Jonsson, Lina, 2011. "The unexpected "yes": Explanatory factors behind the positive attitudes to congestion charges in Stockholm," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 636-647, August.
  2. Andreas Koulouris & Ioannis Katerelos & Theodore Tsekeris, 2013. "Multi-Equilibria Regulation Agent-Based Model of Opinion Dynamics in Social Networks," Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems - scientific journal, Croatian Interdisciplinary Society Provider Homepage: http://indecs.eu, vol. 11(1), pages 51-70.
  3. Börjesson, Maria & Eliasson, Jonas & Hugosson, Muriel & Brundell-Freij, Karin, 2012. "The Stockholm congestion charges – five years on. Effects, acceptability and lessons learnt," Working papers in Transport Economics 2012:3, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
  4. Westin , Jonas & Basck, Pierre & Franklin, Joel P. & Proost , Stef & Raux , Charles, 2012. "Achieving political acceptability for new transport infrastructure in congested urban regions," Working papers in Transport Economics 2012:19, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
  5. Eliasson , Jonas, 2014. "The Stockholm congestion pricing syndrome: how congestion charges went from unthinkable to uncontroversial," Working papers in Transport Economics 2014:1, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
  6. Damien Broussolle, 2011. "Le Peage Urbain : Une Source De Financement Acceptable ? Avec Une Application Au Cas De L’Agglomeration Strasbourgeoise," Working Papers of LaRGE Research Center 2011-07, Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie (LaRGE), Université de Strasbourg.
  7. Mullen, Caroline & Tight, Miles & Whiteing, Anthony & Jopson, Ann, 2014. "Knowing their place on the roads: What would equality mean for walking and cycling?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 238-248.
  8. Michael Manville & David King, 2013. "Credible commitment and congestion pricing," Transportation, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 229-249, February.
  9. Matthew J. Holian & Matthew E. Kahn, 2014. "Household Demand for Low Carbon Public Policies: Evidence from California," NBER Working Papers 19965, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Hensher, David A. & Li, Zheng, 2013. "Referendum voting in road pricing reform: A review of the evidence," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 186-197.
  11. Yusuf, Juita-Elena (Wie) & O’Connell, Lenahan & Anuar, Khairul A., 2014. "For whom the tunnel be tolled: A four-factor model for explaining willingness-to-pay tolls," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 13-21.

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