The Social Impact of Introducing a Tolling Scheme on a Pre-existing Urban Network: the Case of South Africa
M Mokonyama, CSIR, ZA
The paper investigates the implementation of the user-pays principle, in the form of open road network tolling, in a society with significant household income gaps, within a developing country context.
The paper investigates the implementation of the user-pays principle in a society with significant household income gaps, characterised by a high Gini Coefficient. The introduction of urban open-road tolls on a pre-existing road network in South Africa is used as a case study. In this instance the road tolling scheme requires the road user to pay directly for every kilometre travelled after using the road. Furthermore, the scheme is implemented on a pre-existing core urban arterial network. The paper uses variables that include household expenditure patterns, the government tax base, social welfare expenditure, and infrastructure provision and maintenance budgets, to identify alternative approaches to implementing the user pays principle with minimum negative social impact. Various options of funding infrastructure are explored as well as their impact on social equity. The paper also examines the role of public consultation in arriving at consensus-based user-pays principle framework. It is concluded that the user-pays principle, while equitable at a collective level, it can lead to increased pockets of social exclusion in the context where society suffers from structural socio-economic backlogs. This is especially the case when the principle is applied on pre-existing transport infrastructure used for commuting purposes. Under certain circumstances such pockets can in turn significantly offset the benefits of providing such infrastructure. In the case of South Africa the effects of historical social exclusion in the form of race based spatial segregation, namely apartheid, exacerbate the negative impact. The results are particularly useful for developing countries wishing to implement road-based user-pays principle.
Association for European Transport