Road Haulier?s Acceptability of the German HGV Charging Scheme ? Results from a Company Survey
H Link, German Institute for Economic Research, DE
The introduction of road pricing is a highly controversial topic. Various road pricing projects have never been implemented despite extensive scientific studies have demonstrated both the economic benefits and the technical feasibility of the schemes. Several European studies (AFFORD, PATS, PRIMA) and national studies (Bartley 1995, Jones 1998, Steg and Vlek 1996, Deakin et al. 1996, Ison 2000, Thorpe et al. 2000) have analysed the issues which influence acceptability for road pricing. However, these studies dealt mainly with the acceptability of road pricing for passenger cars. This paper submitted to the European Transport Conference deals with the acceptability of the HGV charging scheme in Germany by national road hauliers. A special focus is on the acceptability of different options for using the revenues from the charging scheme and on exploring whether there exists a trade-off between the charge level and the use of revenues. The research to be presented in this paper is part of the REVENUE project, a research project funded by the European Commission within the 5th research framework programme
The background of the work summarised in this paper is the introduction of a distance-related road user charge for German motorways, to be paid since January 2005 by all goods vehicles with a maximum gross vehicle weight of 12t onwards. The main features of this charging scheme can be summarised as follows. The average charge level amounts initially to 12.4 cents/kilometre and varies by the number of axles and the vehicle emission class (9 cents - 14 cents/kilometre). After the approval of compensation measures by the European Commission, the road charge will increase to an average of 15 cents/kilometre. The charging system is operated by a private consortium (Toll Collect) who receives an annual payment of approximately 600 million from the charging revenues for providing these services. It is expected that the charging scheme will generate revenues of about 3.4 billion p.a. After the payment to TollCollect for operating the system, revenues of 2.8 billion flow to the Federal Government. It is planned that from these revenues 600 million will be used to compensate commercial transport operators (it is planned to compensate a part of the commercial diesel fuel tax paid in Germany on presentation of the tanking receipt. This still has to be approved by the European Commission).The remaining revenues of 2.2 billion will flow to an independent infrastructure financing agency and will be used for the improvement of the transport network (road, rail and inland waterway).
The analysis of acceptability issues is based on a survey conducted with German road hauliers. The survey contained attitude-style questions on different dimensions of pricing acceptability such as
(i) problem awareness (shortage of public money for maintaining the roads, congestion, environmental problems, accidents, use of German roads by foreign vehicles)
(ii) scope, level and variation of the charge,
(iii) the charging technology used,
(iv) he institutional framework (Who collects the charge? Who decides on the use of revenues?),
(v) the use of revenues (modal, intermodal, general budget), and
(vi the outcome beliefs of the hauliers regarding the charging scheme (transport impacts, economic impacts, reactions of hauliers).
This main part of the survey is supplemented by a small SP exercise where the trade-off between the level of charge and different options for the use of revenues is explored. The survey is conducted by internet with a sample size of 1700. At the time of submitting this abstract the pre-test of the survey is completed. The main survey will be conducted during March with final results of the analysis being available end of May.
Association for European Transport