Equity Effects of the Stockholm Congestion Charges

Equity Effects of the Stockholm Congestion Charges


J Eliasson, Royal Institute of Technology, SE


We present an analysis of the equity effects of the Stockholm congestion charges ? how socioeconomic groups differ in terms of paid charges, travel time gains and behavioral change.


The Stockholm congestion charging trial lasted during the spring of 2006. Following a referendum in September 2007, the charges were permanently reintroduced in August 2007. This paper presents an analysis of the equity effects ? how different socioeconomic groups differ in the amount of charges they pay, which travel time improvements they get and how their travel behaviour have changed. For each group, partial cost-benefit analysis is carried out, giving a net social impact for each group. This, however, depends on the value of time of the respective group ? a crucial value that is in general not known very well on a sub-group level. We discuss how these values may be estimated, and the potentially crucial importance of self-selection bias in the value of time of road users when analysing cost-benefit impacts and the following impact of opinion.

For example, we show that
- Men pay twice as much charges as women, change their travel behaviour more and on the whole lose more on the charges than women do
- High-income groups pay more charges and lose more (as a whole) than low-income groups on average, probably even after accounting for higher-income groups higher values of time

We further analyse the impacts of different geographic areas, occupancy and family status. We also show how different ways of spending the revenue from the charges affect different groups, and how this has a crucial importance for the final total equity effect.

Comparing the costs and benefits for private travellers compared to those that accrue to business traffic. Interestingly, around 60% of the calculated time benefits accrue to professional traffic, although they only account for around 35% of the traffic volume across the cordon.

An often neglected aspect of equity analyses is how the payment burden is distributed. Obviously, it may make a large difference if it is a small group of habitual drivers that pay more or less every day and make up a large share of the payments, or if it is a larger group of drivers paying more seldomly. Using data on the total charge per vehicle over a longer time period, we are able to shed some light into this. 75% of the revenues come from around 20% of the vehicles in the region (or around 5% of the inhabitants in the region, if we count one car per inhabitant). This lends some support to the notion that it is a small group of drivers that carry most of the payment burden. On the other hand, almost half of the vehicles in the region pays congestion charge at least once during a given two weeks period, lending support to the notion that it is in fact more or less ?different? drivers that cross the cordon each day.


Association for European Transport