PDF: 1832 KB - Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional ...


PDF: 1832 KB - Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional ...

Chapter 4

Congestion charging and

community attitudes


• Community resistance to congestion charging is widespread and easy to


• In introducing congestion charging there can be a strong temptation to buy

community support regardless of the cost and the damage to the economic

integrity of the scheme.

• If there is little response to a charge, the scheme will be difficult to ‘sell’

because gains from the scheme will be low and the revenue raised high.

• Use of the revenue will be critical and provides the opportunity of changing

the ratio of winners to losers through, say, spending on public transport, roads

or reducing other motoring taxes.

• However, from some of the case studies, there appears to be a tendency to

treat the revenue raised from congestion charging as a windfall that does

not merit the same critical assessment that good governance would normally


• Earmarking of revenue to specific projects is not efficient as the discipline of

competing for those funds is necessary to ensure the highest return to the

community from those funds.

• While exemptions are commonly used to garner community support, they

lack theoretical underpinnings and rarely contribute to equity objectives.

This chapter reviews the main barriers to community acceptance of congestion

charging and explores options for addressing them. We provide a brief outline of the

principal objections to congestion charging, focussing on the most pervasive source

of disquiet: that congestion charges are inequitable.

We then review the general issue of earmarking revenue raised for specific purposes

to offset the adverse impact of the charge on road users. Finally, we consider

procedural approaches to gaining community support.

4.1 Introduction

The concept of congestion charging would seem to have instant appeal as a way to

unclog our roads. But community attitudes are diverse, notably with some community

members being strongly resistant to paying ‘extra’ to achieve uncongested roads. The


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