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The unexpected "yes": Explanatory factors behind the positive attitudes to congestion charges in Stockholm

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  • Eliasson, Jonas
  • Jonsson, Lina

Abstract

Several authors have argued that acceptability for road pricing is likely to increase with familiarity. The experiences in Stockholm, where a trial period with congestion charges changed the public opinion from negative to positive, support this hypothesis. Analysing acceptability and attitudes in Stockholm allows us to study a situation where the population is in fact familiar with congestion charges, and explore what the decisive factors for acceptability are in such a situation. By analysing a survey collected after the referendum and the subsequent reintroduction of the charges, we analyse the prerequisites to achieve acceptability given that the public is familiar with congestion charges. As expected, low car dependence and good transit supply are associated with high acceptability. But the two most important factors turn out to be beliefs about the charges' effectiveness, and general environmental attitudes. The importance of beliefs and perceptions of the effects of the charges underscores the importance of both careful system design and careful evaluation and results communication. The strong connection between environmental concerns and positive attitudes to congestion charges underscores the importance of considering and "marketing" the charges' environmental effects. In Stockholm, the politicians' decision to "re-label" the congestion charges to "environmental charges" and emphasising their positive effects on air quality may very well have had a positive impact on acceptability.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:18:y:2011:i:4:p:636-647
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Börjesson, Maria & Brundell-Freij, Karin & Eliasson, Jonas, 2014. "Not invented here: Transferability of congestion charges effects," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 263-271.
    2. 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.
    3. David Hensher & Corinne Mulley, 2014. "Complementing distance based charges with discounted registration fees in the reform of road user charges: the impact for motorists and government revenue," Transportation, Springer, vol. 41(4), pages 697-715, July.
    4. Eliasson, Jonas & Börjesson, Maria & van Amelsfort, Dirk & Brundell-Freij, Karin & Engelson, Leonid, 2013. "Accuracy of congestion pricing forecasts," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 34-46.
    5. Börjesson, Maria & Eliasson, Jonas & Hamilton, Carl, 2016. "Why experience changes attitudes to congestion pricing: The case of Gothenburg," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 1-16.
    6. 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).
    7. Coria, Jessica & Bonilla, Jorge & Grundström, Maria & Pleijel, Håkan, 2015. "Air pollution dynamics and the need for temporally differentiated road pricing," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 178-195.
    8. Beck, Matthew J. & Rose, John M. & Hensher, David A., 2013. "Environmental attitudes and emissions charging: An example of policy implications for vehicle choice," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 171-182.
    9. Eliasson, Jonas, 2016. "Is congestion pricing fair? Consumer and citizen perspectives on equity effects," Transport Policy, Elsevier, pages 1-15.
    10. 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.
    11. Hansla, André & Hysing, Erik & Nilsson, Andreas & Martinsson, Johan, 2017. "Explaining voting behavior in the Gothenburg congestion tax referendum," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 98-106.
    12. Chung, Younshik & Kim, Hyun, 2015. "Deep subterranean railway system: Acceptability assessment of the public discourse in the Seoul Metropolitan Area of South Korea," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 82-94.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Chung, Younshik & Song, Taijin & Park, Jungsik, 2012. "Freeway booking policy: Public discourse and acceptability analysis," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 223-231.
    16. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:9:p:1579-:d:111692 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Naoko Kaida & Kosuke Kaida, 2016. "Pro-environmental behavior correlates with present and future subjective well-being," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 111-127, February.
    18. Mannberg, Andrea & Jansson, Johan & Pettersson, Thomas & Brännlund, Runar & Lindgren, Urban, 2014. "Do tax incentives affect households׳ adoption of ‘green’ cars? A panel study of the Stockholm congestion tax," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 286-299.
    19. Naoko Kaida & Kosuke Kaida, 2015. "Spillover effect of congestion charging on pro-environmental behavior," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 409-421, June.
    20. repec:kap:ejlwec:v:44:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10657-015-9516-x is not listed on IDEAS
    21. 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.
    22. Eva Heiskanen & Oksana Mont & Kate Power, 2014. "A Map Is Not a Territory—Making Research More Helpful for Sustainable Consumption Policy," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 27-44, March.
    23. repec:eee:trapol:v:60:y:2017:i:c:p:119-130 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. 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.
    25. Michael Manville & David King, 2013. "Credible commitment and congestion pricing," Transportation, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 229-249, February.

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