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Why experience changes attitudes to congestion pricing: The case of Gothenburg

Listed author(s):
  • Börjesson, Maria
  • Eliasson, Jonas
  • Hamilton, Carl

Many cities have seen public support for congestion charges increase substantially after charges have been introduced. Several alternative explanations of this phenomenon have been suggested, but so far little evidence has been available to assess the relative importance of these explanations. We study attitudes to congestion pricing in Gothenburg before and after congestion charges were introduced in January 2013. Attitudes to the charges did indeed become more positive after the introduction, just as in previous cities. Using a two-wave postal survey, we separate contributions to the attitude change from a number of sources: benefits and costs being different than anticipated, use of hypothecated revenues, reframing processes, and changes in related attitudes such as attitudes to environment, equity, taxation and pricing measures in general. We conclude that the dominant reason for the attitude change is status quo bias, rather than any substantial changes in beliefs or related attitudes, although some of these factors also contribute. Contrary to a common belief, nothing of the attitude change is due to benefits being larger than anticipated.

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

Volume (Year): 85 (2016)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 1-16

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Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:85:y:2016:i:c:p:1-16
DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2015.12.002
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  1. 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).
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  6. Börjesson, Maria & Eliasson, Jonas, 2014. "Experiences from the Swedish Value of Time study," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 144-158.
  7. Jens Schade & Bernhard Schlag, 2000. "Acceptability of Urban Transport Pricing," Research Reports 72, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  8. 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.
  9. Charles Raux & Stéphanie Souche, 2004. "The Acceptability of Urban Road Pricing: A Theoretical Analysis Applied to Experience in Lyon," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 38(2), pages 191-215, May.
  10. Börjesson, Maria & Kristoffersson, Ida, 2015. "The Gothenburg congestion charge. Effects, design and politics," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 134-146.
  11. Alex Anas & Robin Lindsey, 2011. "Reducing Urban Road Transportation Externalities: Road Pricing in Theory and in Practice," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(1), pages 66-88, Winter.
  12. 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.
  13. Hamilton, Carl J. & Eliasson, Jonas & Brundell-Freij, Karin & Raux, Charles & Souche, Stephanie & Kiiskilää, Kati & Tervonen, Juha, 2014. "Determinants of congestion pricing acceptability," Working papers in Transport Economics 2014:11, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
  14. 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.
  15. Eliasson, Jonas, 2014. "The role of attitude structures, direct experience and reframing for the success of congestion pricing," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 81-95.
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