Toward a Greener Road Pricing System in Europe

Toward a Greener Road Pricing System in Europe


Damien Grangeon, Pascaline Cousin, SETRA, FR


The proposal of "Eurovignette Directive" will allow to charge to the heavy good vehicles the external costs they are responsible for. The paper compares current prices on French road network and prices expected with the proposal of directive.


The review of the ""Eurovignette Directive"" is a recommendation of the ""Greening transport package"", presented in July 2008 to promote an eco-friendly and sustainable transport. As the current road charging schemes for Heavy Good Vehicles (HGV) in Europe do not take into account the negative externalities of road transport, the European Commission proposes to internalize the costs linked to those effects in order to reflect the real costs they have for society and environment. It integrates three types of externalities in the charging system of HGV: air pollution, noise pollution, congestion. The cost of those externalities can vary with the environmental performances of HGV (EURO emission classes), the location (suburban and interurban roads) and the period of HGV use (off-peak, peak and night) in order to internalize the amount of costs they are responsible for. By applying this ""polluter pays"" principle, it forces users to choose between a higher price of road transport and a changing of behaviour (use of less polluting vehicles, driving during less congested periods,?), what should be a good incentive to reduce polluting emissions and delays due to congestion.

Common rules of calculation to value external costs are indicated in the annexes of the new directive proposal, which also imposes a maximum chargeable cost for each externality. If a Member State does not want to use the methodologies presented in the directive proposal, it can calculate the external costs with its own methods provided that its results do not exceed the maximum chargeable costs imposed.

Aims of the study:
The paper focuses on an evaluation of the methodologies advised by the directive proposal (calculations and maximum chargeable cost) lead by the SETRA, which is the technical department of the French Ministry in charge of infrastructures, ecology and sustainable development. It presents a study lead on a French motorway. Each externality is calculated in accordance with the recommendations of the directive and an alternative approach both derived from the French methods to internalize costs:
- Weight classes are introduced for the calculation of the cost of air pollution in order to charge more representative costs to HGV.
- Valuations of noise based on willingness-to-pay studies are used to calculate the costs of noise pollution and compared to the ceilings imposed by the directive.
- Costs of congestion are calculated with a French methodology easier to implement.

Finally the paper provides results with prices that HGV should pay for the external costs they cause. These prices are compared to usual prices on French road network, that are limited to infrastructure costs only. It also assesses earnings that could be expected with internalization and then invested in greener transport measures.

Key words: Internalization ? Air pollution ? Noise pollution ? Congestion ? HGV ? Eurovignette directive

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Association for European Transport