Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working papers in Transport Economics,
CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI)

No 2014:1: The Stockholm congestion pricing syndrome: how congestion charges went from unthinkable to uncontroversial

Jonas Eliasson ()
Additional contact information
Jonas Eliasson: KTH, Postal: Centrum för Transportstudier (CTS), Teknikringen 10, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

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.

Keywords: Congestion pricing; Acceptability; Attitudes

JEL-codes: H23; H54; R41; R48

23 pages, January 20, 2014

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CTS2014-1.pdf PDF-file 

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Published as
Jonas Eliasson, (2014), 'The role of attitude structures, direct experience and framing for successful congestion pricing', Transportation Research A, vol 67, pages 81-95

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