Numerous cities around the world are considering the implementation of road pricing to ease urban traffic congestion, following on from the success in cities such as London and Singapore. However, policy-makers are also all too aware of the generally negative public opinion toward such measures. This study makes use of data collected in four cities (two in Sweden, one in Finland, and one in France) using a very consistent survey probing for citizens’ attitudes toward pricing. We find very strong similarities across the four cities in terms of a number of underlying attitudinal constructs that help explain people’s answers in a hypothetical referendum on congestion pricing. The similarities across cities indicate that the increase in the opinion toward congestion pricing once they are introduced is not primarily an effect of changes in underlying attitudes, changes in how the underlying attitudes influence the support for congestion pricing, or differences in anticipated versus experienced or perceived self-interest. Instead, this effect seems to be caused by a status quo acceptance, tending to increase the support for the current situation.
Hess, S. & Börjesson, M. (2019), Understanding attitudes towards congestion pricing: a latent variable investigation with data from four cities. Transportation Letters, 11(2), pp. 63-77.