Congestion charging - A special WTPP number discussing through a few well written, evidence based articles. And you?
From: John Whitelegg [mailto:j.whitelegg@...]
Sent: Saturday, November 25, 2006 12:31 PM
First of all I would welcome this discussion in WTPP, advanced through a few well written, evidence based articles. I will take this idea a step further if someone let's me have names, possible subjects and e-mail contact details.
The subject is indeed fascinating but we all have to be very open to questioning the metrics we use. I remember teaching transport at Lancaster University for many years and focussing on cost benefit analysis. I'm sure methodologies have now moved on but at that time (1979-1993) it was quite possible to demonstrate that building very destructive new roads was "good" because the time savings multiplied up across thousands of car trips produced a big number described as monetary benefits and there was no method of describing or quantifying the impact of that traffic on nature, environment, climate change, children, health or elderly people trying to cross the road or the that matter the loss of independent child mobility in navigating and negotiating life in a city (see Hillman, Adams and Whitelegg, Policy Studies Institute, London, 1990)
Congestion charging in London has led to large increases in bus use, walking and cycling which has a direct positive impact on public health (obesity, cardiovascular disease and early onset diabetes). Its also much more pleasant to walk and cycle around London than it used to be.
The Swedish vision zero road safety policy is based on rejecting the "economic model" and substituting an ethical basis for road safety interventions.
Let's get the arguments clearly articulated and out in the open.
very best wishes
----- Original Message -----
From: Eric Britton
To: 'John Whitelegg'
Sent: Saturday, November 25, 2006 8:35 AM
Subject: This is I think rather interesting for you, us
From: "Andrew Curry" <andrew.nextwave@...>
Date: Fri Nov 24, 2006 7:46 pm
Subject: Stockholm Congestion Pricing Scheme (Prof. Prud'homme showing a net social economic loss for the scheme, while Eliasson shows a net gain. )
My economics isn't good enough to go through the detailed analysis.
But what is striking about both calcuations is that neither attempts to include a figure for the social benefits of having less traffic in the city area (other than the direct social benefits such as reduced accidents and health impacts of reduced emissions.
(And Remy Prudhomme does acknowledge that he hasn't analysed distributional effects).
Yet the 'social gradient' of traffic, even in Sweden, is that richer people drive and poorer people suffer the effects of traffic - in terms of noise, lower community cohesion, perceived risk, etc. The same social gradient can be seen for more vulnerable members of the community (young, old, etc).
Of course, this may be a way of saying that cost benefit analysis is a poor tool for dealing with social equity. And it may be worse: both calculations depend heavily on calculations of time saved and time lost, and looking at Eliasson there's a time calculation for car travellers (in which business and distribution time is regarded as more valuable than private journey time, but there doesn't seem to be any calculation for the time gains to people using other modes, as a result of reduced congestion. Some time seems to be more equal than others.
It would be interesting to see an analysis of both papers by someone who was able to cover the economics and the underlying assumptions with an appropriate degree of expertise, although I suspect we'd see a more interesting paper from a political economist than from a transport economist :-). One for the WTPP?