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The Stockholm congestion pricing syndrome: how congestion charges went from unthinkable to uncontroversial

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  • Eliasson, Jonas

    () (KTH)

Abstract

Congestion pricing was introduced in Stockholm 2006, first as a trial followed by a referendum, and permanently from 2007. Public attitudes to the charges became more negative during the period from the decision to the start of the system. Once the system started, public attitudes became dramatically more positive over the following years, going from 2/3 against the charges to more than 2/3 in favour of the charges. While the traditional explanatory variables self-interest and belief in the charges’ effectiveness strongly affect attitudes at any given point in time, we show that they cannot explain the change in opinion. Moreover, self-reported changes in behaviour and attitudes considerably underestimate actual changes. About 3/4 of the decrease in car trips and more than half of the change in attitudes seem to have gone unnoticed by respondents, ex post. We discuss how the debate and the shift in attitudes can be understood as a public and political reframing of the congestion pricing over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Eliasson, Jonas, 2014. "The Stockholm congestion pricing syndrome: how congestion charges went from unthinkable to uncontroversial," Working papers in Transport Economics 2014:1, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ctswps:2014_001
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    File URL: http://www.transportportal.se/swopec/CTS2014-1.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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).
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Eliasson, Jonas, 2008. "Lessons from the Stockholm congestion charging trial," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 395-404, November.
    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. Eliasson, Jonas & Mattsson, Lars-Göran, 2006. "Equity effects of congestion pricing: Quantitative methodology and a case study for Stockholm," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 602-620, August.
    7. Schade, Jens & Schlag, Bernhard, 2000. "Acceptability of Urban Transport Pricing," Research Reports 72, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    8. Nyborg, Karine, 2000. "Homo Economicus and Homo Politicus: interpretation and aggregation of environmental values," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 305-322, July.
    9. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Congestion pricing; Acceptability; Attitudes;

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy

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