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Re: [NewMobilityCafe] Re: introduction and PCR/pricing

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  • Todd Alexander Litman
    I recently completed a paper, Mobility As A Positional Good: Implications for Transport Policy and Planning (http://www.vtpi.org/prestige.pdf ), which
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 17, 2007

      I recently completed a paper, "Mobility As A Positional Good: Implications for Transport Policy and Planning" ( http://www.vtpi.org/prestige.pdf ), which investigate various ways that status value stimulates motor vehicle ownership and use.

      Although many consumers may resist carbon taxes introduced simply to address climate change, resistance can decline if described as a revenue-neutral tax shift, emphasizing the multiple benefits. Tax shifting is one of several transportation market reforms justified on economic efficiency grounds that also provide substantial social and environmental benefits. These are discussed in our paper "Win-Win Emission Reduction Strategies" ( http://www.vtpi.org/wwclimate.pdf ) and "Win-Win Transportation Solutions" ( http://www.vtpi.org/winwin.pdf ). I think the key to public acceptance is to show that these help address day-to-day transportation problems such as congestion, accidents, consumer costs and inadequate mobility for non-drivers, not just environmental objectives.

      Best wishes,
      -Todd Litman

      At 12:02 PM 1/16/2007, Zvi Leve wrote:
      Hello & welcome Simon,

      Since you are investigating something completely "new and radical", I have a suggestion for you. We all know that no one will willingly agree to pay more for something that they have now nor does anyone want to pay more taxes. Offer what you want, but if people cannot perceive a direct relationship between what they pay and what they get (ie toll = less congestion NOW as opposed to pay more now -> emit less carbon -> ???) they will be unlikely to support the arrangement.

      On the other hand, we also know that cars (and many other consumer items) are very much positional goods. That is, people are willing to pay more for them in order to make a certain statement about themselves. This occurs in all societies. Many people who use a car do care about the environment, global warming, and a wide range of other issues. If one could find some way to allow them to express their positions by voluntarily paying more for petrol, this could be an interesting solution to the dilemma (people want a better environment but cannot rationalize paying for it). For example, if one could choose which cause to "support" when paying for petrol via some mechanism to make this "statement" visible to others (some variable emblem or something on the car), then there just might be a market for such things. Similarly for air-travel: have a green section of the plane where the higher seat prices offset the cost of the carbon emissions.

      Now that would be a research project with a mission: Finding out if people might actually be willing to voluntarily pay to make a statement about the environment!

      Good luck!


      On 16 Jan 2007 15:37:07 -0000, NewMobilityCafe@yahoogroups.com

      introduction and PCR/pricing
          Posted by: "Simon Field" s.d.field@... simonfield2004
          Date: Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:45 pm ((PST))

      Hello all.



      For my dissertation project I have taken the plunge into the murky
      waters of personal carbon allowances (PCA) for transport.  The
      specific question I intend to ask is which would be most
      acceptable/least unacceptable to the public: personal carbon
      rationing or full cost road user charging.  The latter would
      probably be based on Stephen Glaister's economically efficient
      pricing model which includes environmental externalities, modified
      in some way to address the other problems with which we are all
      familiar.  Glaister argues that public transport and rail should not
      be subsidised if full economic costing is employed across modes -
      what do you think of that?  Last, but by no means least, is the
      aviation question.  How far should a taxation regime be taken - air
      value tax as well as LVT?

      I am fully aware that the objectives of PCA and road pricing may
      differ (which is a major problem if not made clear by policymakers),
      but both could be designed to precipitate incremental behavioural
      change and increase the demand for quality urban design coupled with
      a dramatically reduced need for motorised travel on a daily basis.
      As part of this I intend to prelude attitude surveys with Urban
      Colonies images from the Foresight Intelligent Infrastructure
      Futures: Scenarios ( http://tinyurl.com/y4mb8q).  As this is
      unashamedly utopian, Freiburg Vauban (on BBC News last week) could
      be presented as a carrot.  Do you think this is a good idea, or
      would it be greeted with 'it'll never happen here'?  As any research
      of this kind involves umpteen assumptions, why not introduce carfree
      into the mix?

      My continuing reservation about carfree and reduced need to travel
      concerns centralised employment: spatial issues within towns and
      cities and at the macro level i.e. in London and the south east.
      Will national economic planning catch up, or are we doomed to
      realisation of Eddington's agglomeration and Barker's greenbelt
      sprawl recommendations?  As Simon Norton has said, people may not
      wish to flee the city if it is green and pleasant, but I believe the
      costs and lack of acceptance of retro-fitting will preclude this.
      Dominic Coupe of CPRE has said he would find use of pristine land
      for an 'eco city' preferable to the inexorable rise of
      Zwischenstaedte (between towns) on greenbelt.  Food for thought.

      Many thanks to Dave Wetzel and Eric for their postings on UTSG - I
      think debate there is frowned upon, but I for one welcome it!

      Well, there's enough to be getting on with...


      Simon Field.

      Todd Alexander Litman
      Victoria Transport Policy Institute (www.vtpi.org)
      Phone & Fax 250-360-1560
      1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, CANADA
      “Efficiency - Equity - Clarity”

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