Activity-based Charging in Low Emission Zones: the Stakeholders' Response

Activity-based Charging in Low Emission Zones: the Stakeholders' Response


K Ystmark Bjerkan, M Elvsaas Nordtoemme, A-M Kummeneje, A Bjoergen Sund, T Tretvik, SINTEF Technology and Society, NO


Presentation of a study of stakeholder responses to a dynamic charging principle for freight vehicles in low emission zones. A crucial question is whether this charging system will induce more environment friendly behaviour in the freight business.


The paper will present the idea and the results from the research project Green Activity Zones (GAZ), financed by The Research Council of Norway. GAZ aims at developing a system where vehicles driving within a low emission ("green") zone are charged based on the vehicle?s real activity inside the zone.

With increasing environmental challenges, cities around the world are introducing low emission zones with the purpose of improving the local environment for residents and travelers. Access control and charging systems currently in use are typically based on simple technical requirements or pricing structures that are easy to understand and accept. For instance, the charges do normally not vary by choice of route or time of day or year, and the technical criteria are often based on weight and/or EURO class.

Since these systems are relatively simple and straightforward, they are static in nature and do not generate incentives for a more efficient provision of transport services and more environmental friendly and economical driving. Furthermore, commercial traffic is often hit hard both by such pricing measures and by the requirements on technical standards for delivery and distribution vehicles.

The main objective of GAZ is to develop a charging application based on the actual emissions from the vehicle (with a set of pricing rules, algorithms, input parameters as vehicle and behavior data, technology choices). This could introduce a more just and accurate way of road use charging while inducing more climate and environmentally friendly behavior. For the GAZ project to succeed, it is crucial to understand vehicle emissions, identify actors that can contribute to lower emission levels, and finally, to understand the mechanisms that may induce the wanted behavior.

The effective implementation of GAZ depends on the acceptance and adaptation of involved stakeholders, and three crucial stakeholders are identified: a) freight transport users (buyers of freight transport services), b) freight transport service providers, and c) drivers of commercial vehicles subject to a fee. In order to understand the various stakeholders' roles in the GAZ system, they are placed in a reference model, and ways in which they influence the GAZ system are explored. In general, it is expected that these stakeholders can influence emissions by choice of
- time of freight delivery (avoiding peak hours to reduce fuel consumption and thereby emissions),
- delivery route,
- type of vehicle (size, EURO class, fuel consumption etc.), and
- driving style (choice of speed, gears, acceleration, brake use, awareness and idling "eco driving")
These factors are documented to have an impact on emission levels. An important part of the project will be to carry out surveys within each of the three stakeholder groups identified above. This is vital in order to establish to which degree behavioral adaptations actually will take place if GAZ were implemented, and to identify weaknesses with the GAZ scenario. Important research questions for these surveys are:
- What are the stakeholders' views on the GAZ charging application in terms of efficiency and fairness?
- What will be the consequences of the GAZ application in terms of time of delivery, vehicle type and driving style? Will the stakeholders adapt by changing their behavior, or will they simply pay the extra fee? Do they have real choices?
- To what extent are the transport service buyers conscious of the impact of their freight transport demands on the climate and environment? Are there important barriers towards avoiding freight delivery during peak hours? If so ? what kind of barriers?
- To what degree do urban freight transport drivers practice eco-driving? What kind of training and incentives are given to the drivers?

A pilot study among a selection of freight forwarders, local transport buyers and freight transport drivers in Norway is now in process. The pilot will be developed into web surveys during spring 2012, among a broader selection in these groups (preferably around 100 persons in each group). The results from the surveys will be documented by August 2012.

The final paper will describe the project in more detail, and present the results that have been achieved. These results will give us important knowledge on how the different stakeholders view this kind of low emission zone and charging applications, in terms of fairness, effectiveness and acceptance. It will also form a base to discuss whether the GAZ charging application has the potential of being an effective environmental measure in the future.


Association for European Transport