Develop public outreach programs based on the cultural and political context of the project location and provide clear, salient, and timely messages about the purpose and benefits of congestion pricing.

Experience from road pricing programs in Europe and Asia

Czech Republic; Netherlands; Singapore; Sweden; Germany; United Kingdom

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

Congestion pricing programs face political, institutional, and public acceptance challenges and concerns everywhere in the world. Over a 12-day period, from December 7 to 18, 2009, a multidisciplinary scan team from the United States met with the experts in Europe and Asia to gain an understanding of the factors that contributed to the successful implementation of road pricing. Based on their international experience, the scan team offered the following lessons learned on outreach and public acceptance of road pricing programs.
  • Consider using various forms of public involvement based on the cultural and political context of the host country to address public concerns about road pricing.

    The Netherlands: After several attempts to implement a distance charge, the Dutch realized that proactive stakeholder outreach during the planning and concept development stage is essential. Over a period of two years, staff and leadership at the Dutch Ministry of Transport invested heavily in public outreach and education. By engaging in a thorough and thoughtful planning and public involvement process, the Dutch developed clear, salient, and timely messages about the purpose and benefits of pricing, including “drive less, pay less.”
    Singapore: Public outreach in Singapore included the opening of the Land Transport Authority (LTA) Transportation Gallery, an interactive exhibit that teaches younger audiences about concepts such as mobility, access, sustainability, land use, and demand management. The gallery is a powerful educational tool that explains the history, context, and future of Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) and other transportation options in Singapore.
  • Provide clear, salient, and timely messages about the purpose and benefits of pricing to help educate key stakeholders and garner public acceptance.

    Singapore: Singapore provides education about transportation solutions such as road pricing with an interactive transportation gallery. Key messages used in Singapore include “keep roads free-flowing,” “people-centered transportation” and “public transit is a viable choice.”

    Czech Republic and Germany: Czech and German truckers supported pricing in an effort to “level the playing field” with foreign haulers and promoted the message of “user pays.”

    The Netherlands: Based on prior false starts, the Dutch are investing heavily in stakeholder outreach and are committed to a revenue-neutral road-pricing scheme. Their mantra is “drive less, pay less.”
  • Address issues of equity and privacy.

    London, Stockholm, Singapore: Issues of equity and privacy were dealt with differently in each locale. Equity issues related to a person’s ability to pay the fee were not widespread in London, Singapore, or Stockholm because of the high cost of car ownership and existence of good transit alternatives in all three cities. Lower income commuters in these cities tend to use transit because the driving cost differential is significant. In addition to substantial transit investments, London and Stockholm provide a variety of exemptions and discounts to various users (i.e., transit vehicles, taxis, hybrids; monthly and annual pass purchasers; residents within the charging zone or in adjacent communities). Singapore, on the other hand, provides few exemptions (only for military and emergency vehicles). Because many transit providers in Singapore are privately contracted and operated, all transit vehicles are required to pay.
Road pricing programs implemented in Europe and Asia offer important lessons on the use of market-based approaches to address traffic congestion and improve mobility. European and Asian experience shows that road pricing programs have used various forms of public involvement based on the cultural and political context, providing clear, salient, and timely messages about the purpose and benefits of pricing as well as allaying the concerns of equity and privacy.

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Reducing Congestion and Funding Transportation Using Road Pricing In Europe and Singapore

Author: Robert Arnold, Vance C. Smith, John Q. Doan, Rodney N. Barry, Jayme L. Blakesley, Patrick T. DeCorla-Souza, Mark F. Muriello, Gummada N. Murthy, Patty K. Rubstello, Nick A. Thompson

Published By: Federal Highway Administration, U.S. DOT

Source Date: 12/01/2010

URL: http://international.fhwa.dot.gov/pubs/pl10030/pl10030.pdf

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Benefits From This Source

After implementation of the congestion charge in London, the number of vehicles entering the charging zone decreased by 25 percent, travel speeds increased by 30 percent, trip times decreased by 14 percent, and traffic delays plummeted by 25 percent.

In Germany, vehicle-miles traveled using cleaner trucks (Euro 4 and 5) rose 60 percent from 2 percent in 2005 to over 62 percent in 2009 because of the nationwide heavy-goods-vehicle tolling program.

In Singapore, the Electronic Road Pricing program has enabled maintaining target speeds of 45 to 65 kilometers per hour on expressways and 20 to 30 kilometers per hour on arterials.

The Stockholm congestion tax project reduced traffic congestion by 20 percent and vehicle emissions by 10 to 14 percent in the Central Business District.

Lessons From This Source

Be prepared to face the opportunities and challenges posed by political timetables, project deadlines, as well as pricing-equity issues for road pricing procurement and implementation.

Beware that schedule and costs of road pricing projects are affected by various factors including legislative outcomes, clarity and specificity of scope, and contracting methods.

Consider advantages of open-source designs and beware of legal challenges in road pricing systems procurement.

Consider stakeholder outreach and education, transport modes that offer an alternative to driving, performance measurement, and area geography with high importance in the planning phase for road pricing programs.

Create performance standards for operational effectiveness of a pricing program, define business rules for back-office operations, and refine operations practices based on needs.

Define clear goals and pay attention to key institutional and technical factors for successful implementation of road pricing programs.

Develop a statutory and legal framework for as a foundational step for levying road pricing fees and utilizing revenues.

Develop public outreach programs based on the cultural and political context of the project location and provide clear, salient, and timely messages about the purpose and benefits of congestion pricing.

Enforce congestion toll collection and create integration linkages between pricing system and motor vehicle registries to process violations.

For successful implementation of a road pricing program, strive for simplicity in policy goals and strong championing of the program by the executive and legislative leaders.

Understand that while the viability of pricing programs is impacted by political actions, pricing signal is a potential tool for developing a sustainable transportation system.

Use business and functional requirements to guide technology selection for a road pricing program and understand that the technology selected initially evolves over time.

Lesson ID: 2011-00595