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Framing the role of Decision Support in the case of Stockholm Congestion Charging Trial


  • Gudmundsson, Henrik
  • Ericsson, Eva
  • Hugosson, Muriel Beser
  • Rosqvist, Lena Smidfelt


Congestion charging was - as a trial - introduced in Stockholm from January 3rd to July 31st 2006. After the referendum in September 2006, the charging system was finally introduced as permanent from August 2007 with some adjustments to the Trial design. The idea of congestion charging is unique in a Swedish context, and the introduction of the Stockholm system has been highly controversial. Considerable efforts have therefore been undertaken to provide information that could serve as 'Decision Support' along the way. This has included e.g. modelling and forecasts before the Trial, a comprehensive evaluation programme during the Trial, extensive stakeholder consultations throughout, and various information and communication strategies. But what difference did this information input make, and what was its role in the process from initiating the system, to its final adoption? In this paper we pave the way for investigating the use and role of 'Decision Support' in the Stockholm Congestion Charging experiment. We adopt a definition of Decision Support as the systematic application of externally produced knowledge in transport planning and policy making processes. We then derive an analytical framework from the research literature on 'knowledge utilization' in policy making. This research has generally found that both 'technical', 'communicative', and 'institutional' aspects of the Decision Support matter for its influence on actual policy making processes and results. In our analysis we find a similar pattern. This high technical quality of the monitoring and evaluation programmes provided for solid verified results, while the institutional arrangements and the communication strategies helped to ensure the credibility and legitimacy of the information for the decision makers. The availability of rich contents coupled with strategies for the timely and targeted information delivery suggest that direct 'instrumental' use could have taken place. At a more general level the Trial represents an advanced form of 'Decision Support' that goes beyond the mere application of calculated results to encompass a process where the decision parameters themselves become part of the change process.

Suggested Citation

  • Gudmundsson, Henrik & Ericsson, Eva & Hugosson, Muriel Beser & Rosqvist, Lena Smidfelt, 2009. "Framing the role of Decision Support in the case of Stockholm Congestion Charging Trial," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 258-268, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:43:y:2009:i:3:p:258-268

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Odeck, James & Bråthen, Svein, 2002. "Toll financing in Norway: The success, the failures and perspectives for the future," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 253-260, July.
    2. Lisa Kane & Romano Del Mistro, 2003. "Changes in transport planning policy: Changes in transport planning methodology?," Transportation, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 113-131, May.
    3. Ryley, Tim & Gjersoe, Nathalia, 2006. "Newspaper response to the Edinburgh congestion charging proposals," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 66-73, January.
    4. Saleh, Wafaa, 2005. "Road user charging: Theory and practice," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(5), pages 373-376, September.
    5. 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.
    6. Schade, J. & Baum, M., 2007. "Reactance or acceptance? Reactions towards the introduction of road pricing," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 41-48, January.
    7. Susan Owens & Tim Rayner & Olivia Bina, 2004. "New agendas for appraisal: reflections on theory, practice, and research," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 36(11), pages 1943-1959, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Odeck, James & Kjerkreit, Anne, 2010. "Evidence on users' attitudes towards road user charges--A cross-sectional survey of six Norwegian toll schemes," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 349-358, November.
    2. 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.
    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. Bones, Emma J. & Barrella, Elise M. & Amekudzi, Adjo A., 2013. "Implementation of evidence-based design approaches in transportation decision making," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 317-328.
    5. Vonk Noordegraaf, Diana & Annema, Jan Anne & van Wee, Bert, 2014. "Policy implementation lessons from six road pricing cases," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 172-191.
    6. Schuitema, Geertje & Steg, Linda & Forward, Sonja, 2010. "Explaining differences in acceptability before and acceptance after the implementation of a congestion charge in Stockholm," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 99-109, February.
    7. Börjesson, Maria & Eliasson, Jonas & Hugosson, Muriel B. & Brundell-Freij, Karin, 2012. "The Stockholm congestion charges—5 years on. Effects, acceptability and lessons learnt," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 1-12.


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