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Is congestion pricing fair? Consumer and citizen perspectives on equity effects

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  • Eliasson, Jonas

Abstract

This paper discusses and analyses whether congestion charges can be considered to be “fair” in different senses of the word. Two different perspectives are distinguished: the consumer perspective and the citizen perspective. The consumer perspective is the traditional one in equity analyses, and includes changes in travel costs, travel times and so on. Using data from four European cities, I show that high-income groups pay more than low-income groups, but low-income groups pay a larger share of their income. I argue that which of these distributional measures is most appropriate depends on the purpose(s) of the charging system. The citizen perspective is about individuals’ views of social issues such as equity, procedural fairness and environmental issues. I argue that an individual can be viewed as a “winner” from a citizen perspective if a reform (such as congestion pricing) is aligned with her views of what is socially desirable. Using the same data set, I analyse to what extent different income groups “win” or “lose” from a citizen perspective – i.e., to what extent congestion pricing is aligned with the societal preferences of high- and low-income groups. It turns out that these differences are small, but overall, middle-income groups “win” the most in this sense.

Suggested Citation

  • Eliasson, Jonas, 2016. "Is congestion pricing fair? Consumer and citizen perspectives on equity effects," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 1-15.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:52:y:2016:i:c:p:1-15
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tranpol.2016.06.009
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    1. 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.
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    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).
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    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. Björn Hårsman & John M. Quigley, 2010. "Political and public acceptability of congestion pricing: Ideology and self-interest," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(4), pages 854-874.
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    19. 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.
    20. 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).
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    23. Georgina Santos, 2008. "The London Congestion Charging Scheme, 2003–2006," Chapters,in: Road Congestion Pricing in Europe, chapter 8 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:trapol:v:60:y:2017:i:c:p:99-107 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Asplund, Disa & Pydokke, Roger, 2018. "Distributional effects of fares and frequencies for public transport in small cities," Working papers in Transport Economics 2018:7, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
    3. repec:eee:transa:v:107:y:2018:i:c:p:35-51 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Börjesson , Maria & Kristoffersson, Ida, 2017. "The Swedish congestion charges: ten years on: - and effects of increasing charging levels," Working papers in Transport Economics 2017:2, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
    5. repec:eee:trapol:v:68:y:2018:i:c:p:142-157 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Distributional effects; Equity effects; Consumer vs. citizen; Congestion charges; Congestion pricing; Fairness;

    JEL classification:

    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy

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