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Co-ordination of urban road-user charging organisational issues

Exploitable results

The report summarises the results achieved by research and practice on a number of themes of main concern for cities in order to provide an answer (based on the collected evidence from research and practice) to questions cities might ask on that particular theme. The findings according to the identified themes are as follows. 1. Possible objectives of urban road user charging schemes. Nine possible objectives have been identified. They seem to cover the full range of aspects for which urban road user charging is likely to be pursued by cities. These objectives are (efficiency, environment, and revenue generations are considered the most important): congestion relief, environment, revenue growth, economic growth, health, liveability, safety, equity/social inclusion, future generations. 2. Ways in which road user charging schemes can be designed to meet the objectives identified in point 1. Road user charging should be designed in the context of the selected complementary policies. The effectiveness and acceptability of a charging scheme are affected by a number of charging specifications (e.g. level of charge, variations by vehicle type, location and time of day, exemptions and discounts) and a trade-off is necessary between these two (often) clashing impacts. 3. Technologies available to support such scheme designs. Available technologies are automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), dedicated short range communications and global navigation satellite systems (GPS). The development of GPS will enable the use of a wider range of pricing systems, including distance-based charging. However, ANPR is currently the most used tool for enforcement. 4. Techniques for predicting the effects of road user charging schemes. The performances of RUC schemes critically depend on the behavioural responses induced. Consequently, it is necessary to identify and measures first and second order effects caused by behavioural changes (first order effects are, for example, change of mode, route, destination, timing and number of journeys, while second order effects include, for example, changes in vehicle ownership and fleet composition, the location of economic activity, homes and jobs. 5. Specific evidence on traffic effects. According to the collected evidence, RUC schemes have typically reduced traffic entering the charged zone by between 14 % and 23 %. However, when the main objective of the RUC scheme was not to reduce traffic, but generate revenue reductions have been much smaller. Effects on speeds and congestion have been more variable. 6. Specific evidence of impacts on the environment. Most of them (due to reduced traffic levels) are positive. However, the redistribution of traffic may have negative impacts. 7. Specific evidence of impacts on the economy. Though there is still limited evidence, the impacts of RUC schemes on urban economy are likely to be small (and, in any case, much smaller than the business community predicts). 8. Specific evidence of impacts on equity. Collected evidence suggests that 'horizontal' factors (such as location, demography and transport needs) are more likely to produce inequities than 'vertical' factors (related to income). 9. Techniques for appraising the effects of road user charging schemes. The appraisal of RUC schemes is similar to those of any transport policy intervention, even though the scale of the changes induced and its role in generating revenue make it more complex. 10. Factors affecting the acceptability of road user charging schemes. Acceptability is still the main concern of cities implementing RUC schemes. Acceptability is critically affected by complementary policy instruments and the use of RUC revenue, and it can be increased by discounts and exemptions. There is often a conflict between acceptability objectives (through lower charges and increased use of discounts) and effectiveness objectives (which may require higher charges and fewer exemptions), which requires to make a trade-off. 11. Transferability of experience from one city to another. There is still a lack of empirical evidences which make the transferability issue a little understood aspect of RUC policy. 12. Good practice in the implementation of urban road user charging schemes. Implementation processes (including legislative frameworks and political structures) substantially differ among cities and countries. Evidence show that political commitment is crucial and the implementation scheduling must strictly match the electoral cycle. Furthermore, a consensus at regional level can avoid conflicts between adjacent authorities. 13. Techniques for monitoring and evaluating the effects of road user charging schemes. Effective monitoring of RUC impacts is crucial to sustain and enhance the scheme, as well as to increase empirical evidence on RUC.