Acceptability Factors to Transport Policy Changes



Acceptability Factors to Transport Policy Changes

Authors

RAUX C and SOUCHE S, Laboratoire d'Economie des Transports, France

Description

Vis-a-vis thescamity of resources (e.g. space dedicated to transport and public money) and the environmental implication of transport, the stake today is to implement new regulations in order to improve the transport system efficiency. According to the pr

Abstract

Vis-a-vis thescamity of resources (e.g. space dedicated to transport and public money) and the environmental implication of transport, the stake today is to implement new regulations in order to improve the transport system efficiency. According to the prescription of economic theory, several European and national documents advocate the introduction of more pricing instruments into the current regulation of the transport system as well as more efficiency into pricing, particularly through the principle of marginal cost pricing (cf. European Commission 1995 and 1998).

The debate around these proposals is all the more sharp since the decisions about pricing and regulation in transport touch fundamental aspects of our society, such as liberty of travel, equity and non-discrimination, which cannot be left completely to the free market.

The recent failures of some tolling schemes in French urban areas (e.g. in Lyon or Toulouse), the constant opposition of the opinion to the introduction of congestion pricing in spite of~the intellectual seduction that this concept has exerted on the economists for more than 75 years, show that it is necessary to analyse the ways to make acceptable a more efficient transport policy.

When one analyses the reactions of the various stakeholders to the documents previously quoted (PATS, 2000), in fact primarily questions of equity arise. They are as well questions of equal treatment between modes or operators, as of risk of aggravation of the inequalities between users or consumers, of concern of preservation of social and spatial solidarity at the various geographic levels, from local government to European level. The benefit and burden sharing coming from 'changes in transport policy is of course the main issue.

First of all it should be underlined that there is no a theory of acceptability. A central assumption is that acceptability mostly relies on the two conditions of efficiency and equity: a policy measure that is perceived as insufficiently efficient and insufficiently fair is thus doomed to be rejected. The corollary of this assumption is that to be acceptable a transport policy must reach a minimal degree of efficiency and a minimal degree of equity. By saying that, it is stated that there is no identity between efficiency and fairness and that the first has not automatically implicit the second. In addition, these conditions are necessary though not sufficient to guarantee the acceptability of a pricing policy.

In the first section we elaborate an analytical framework of acceptability which will be applied in the second section to a series of case studies. This application will help to validate the framework and infer relevant ways'of improvement of acceptability of transport pricing schemes.

Publisher

Association for European Transport