IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Lessons from travel planning and road user charging for policy-making: through imperfection to implementation


  • Ison, Stephen
  • Rye, Tom


In 1978 Gunn published a seminal paper which explained why implementation of policy is so difficult. The paper set out 10 conditions, which should be satisfied if perfect implementation is to be achieved. Whilst it is clear that perfect implementation is not possible in the real world, and Gunn has subsequently been criticised for his 'top-down' approach to decision-making, these conditions do, nonetheless act as an effective framework through which to evaluate good practice in the implementation of urban transport policy instruments. Two urban transport policy instruments, which form an increasingly important element of the Government's strategy in the UK for reducing the demand for private transport as set out in a New Deal for Transport (DETR, 1998), are travel plans and road user charging. Travel plans are a relatively recent policy instrument in the UK and seek to reduce trips to work by car by providing, through individual employers, a targeted, integrated package of incentives and disincentives to influence commuters' choice of mode of travel to and from the workplace. Road user charging, whereby motorists are charged for the road space they use in urban areas, seeks to reduce the congestion problem via the price mechanism, and has a longer history in the UK. To date the implementation of travel plans in the UK has been more widespread than that of road user charging. It is fair to say, however, that the widespread implementation of both urban transport policy instruments is a complex and sensitive area for decision-makers. The aim of this paper is firstly, to analyse travel plans and road user charging in the UK with respect to the conditions for perfect implementation put forward by Gunn and secondly, to highlight the elements of good practice, pertinent to the implementation of road user charging, in the process of the implementation of travel plans. Overall, the paper uses Gunn's theoretical framework as a basis for recommendations for better decision-making that will aid the wider implementation of both travel plans and road user charging internationally.

Suggested Citation

  • Ison, Stephen & Rye, Tom, 2003. "Lessons from travel planning and road user charging for policy-making: through imperfection to implementation," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 223-233, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:10:y:2003:i:3:p:223-233

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Odeck, James & BrĂ¥then, 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. Ison, S., 2000. "Local authority and academic attitudes to urban road pricing: a UK perspective," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 269-277, October.
    3. Rye, Tom, 2002. "Travel plans: do they work?," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 287-298, October.
    4. Ison, Stephen, 1998. "A concept in the right place at the wrong time: congestion metering in the city of Cambridge," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 139-146, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Catherine Althaus & Lindsay M. Tedds & Allen McAvoy, 2011. "The Feasibility of Implementing a Congestion Charge on the Halifax Peninsula: Filling the "Missing Link" of Implementation," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 37(4), pages 541-561, December.
    2. Robin Lindsey, 2007. "Congestion Relief: Assessing the Case for Road Tolls in Canada," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 248, May.
    3. Hakim Hammadou & Claire Papaix, 2015. "Policy packages for modal shift and CO2 reduction in Lille, France," Working Papers 1501, Chaire Economie du climat.
    4. repec:eee:juipol:v:50:y:2018:i:c:p:133-143 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. De Gruyter, Chris & Rose, Geoffrey & Currie, Graham, 2015. "Enhancing the impact of travel plans for new residential developments: Insights from implementation theory," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 24-35.
    6. repec:eee:jotrge:v:27:y:2013:i:c:p:36-45 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:jotrge:v:19:y:2011:i:2:p:235-243 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. 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.
    9. repec:cec:wpaper:1415 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:10:y:2003:i:3:p:223-233. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.