Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

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

No 2014:14: Why experience changes attitudes to congestion pricing: the case of Gothenburg

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

Abstract: Many cities have seen public support for congestion charges increase substantially after charges have been introduced. Several alternative explanations of this phenomenon have been suggested, but so far little evidence has been available to assess the relative importance of these explanations. We study attitudes to congestion pricing in Gothenburg before and after congestion charges were introduced in January 2013. Attitudes to the charges did indeed become more positive after the introduction, just as in previous cities. Using a two-wave postal survey, we are able to separate contributions to the attitude change from a number of sources: benefits and costs being different than anticipated, use of hypothecated revenues, reframing processes, and changes in related attitudes such as attitudes to environment, equity, taxation and pricing measures in general. We conclude that the dominant reason for the attitude change is status quo bias, rather than any substantial changes in beliefs or related attitudes, although some of these factors also contribute to some extent. Contrary to a common belief, nothing of the attitude change is due to benefits being larger than anticipated.

Keywords: Congestion pricing; Acceptability; Attitudes; Gothenburg

JEL-codes: H23; H54; R41; R48

24 pages, August 25, 2014

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Published as
Maria Börjesson, Jonas Eliasson and Carl Hamilton, (2016), 'Why experience changes attitudes to congestion pricing: the case of Gothenburg', Transportation Research A, vol 85, pages 1-16

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