Musselwhite, C. and Lyons, G.
Exploring the public acceptability of road pricing.
Proceedings of the 41st Universities Transport Study Group Conference, London, UK, 5-7 January 2009. London: University College London
This paper reports on a major study for the UK Department for Transport that has involved deliberative research to explore how public attitudes (and motivations for such attitudes) towards road pricing influence public acceptability. The research involved reconvened focus groups in a number of areas of the country that were considering road pricing. The first phase of fieldwork took place in eight areas (with a total of 446 participants) meeting twice. The second phase of research, involved the same participants from five (and latterly three) of the areas meeting for an additional three group discussions and a workshop with follow-up depth interviews. In the course of successive sessions participants were taken through a process from considering the problem and causes of congestion, through potential solutions to congestion, to general and then specific propositions for road pricing.
The authors developed two conceptual model of road pricing acceptability that provided a research framework for the study – one concerning four sequential stages of acceptability at the individual level and the other addressing aggregate acceptability against time. The paper sets out these models, drawing upon the richness of empirical insight to reveal a number of key determinants of public acceptability and how acceptability can change.
Key findings explored in the paper include the following: the public recognise that congestion is a problem for the country but many do not consider it a serious problem for themselves; there is scepticism over whether congestion is a soluble problem and following on from this that people may prefer to cope with it in their own way; and road pricing is initially viewed with widespread negative reaction but this reaction softens in some people as their understanding of the issues improves while in others negativity is hardened. Finally the heterogeneity of attitudes and acceptability suggests a corresponding selective and targeted approach to any communications strategy intended to impact upon acceptability.
Repository Staff Only: item control page
Total Document Downloads in Past 12 Months