50% of people in Leeds would be in favour
of road charging, if the cost was kept under
£3 a day and if the scheme brought substantial
environmental improvements, a study at the
Institute for Transport Studies has shown.
A similar proportion of Londoners would support
the Mayors scheme for a £5 charge
in central London.
Tony May, Dr Mark Wardman and Dr Sittha Jaensirisak
surveyed car users and non-car users in Leeds
and London, to gauge public response to the
implementation of city centre road user charges.
Levels of acceptability vary greatly
depending on charging levels, where charges
are applied and whether substantial environmental
improvements can be demonstrated, said
Professor May. With a fixed charge per
day within the inner ring road, and proven
environmental benefits, a scheme in Leeds
would be supported by 60% of the public.
researchers studied responses from over 800
questionnaires. Three-quarters of respondents
from Leeds perceived congestion and pollution
problems as serious or very serious, compared
with over 90% from London, but only a third
of car users from Leeds saw charging as an
effective solution to such problems compared
with 50% in the capital. A majority of non-car
users felt charging would be effective, but
there were concerns about the provision of
alternative forms of transport, and scepticism
as to the motivation behind charging schemes.
scheme has to be acceptable to the majority
of the public, said Dr Jaensirisak.
Schemes are judged on their potential
benefits, not just to individuals but to society
as a whole. However, it is much easier to
achieve effectiveness than acceptability.
with a charge at just £1 a day, over
20% of car commuters in Leeds would change
to uncharged periods or other forms of transport.
And if some of the revenue from charging schemes
went towards improving the environment, then
acceptability would be increased.
London, charging is more acceptable, as higher
proportions of the population are non-car
users who see congestion and pollution as
very serious and consider charging as a potential
is possible to design a scheme which can be
both effective, and acceptable to the majority
of the public, if charges are kept simple
and at a reasonable level, and if sufficient
benefits are also offered, said Dr Wardman.
People need to feel involved, as part
of the problem and the solution. They need
to understand why they should support charging
schemes and reduce their car use.