What do we know about public attitudes
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Road User Charging: Building a consensus, Wednesday 26 th October. What do we know about public attitudes?. Professor Glenn Lyons Centre for Transport & Society, UWE, Bristol. Overview. Origins of the presentation Attitudinal surveys’ results Topic area findings Summarising remarks.

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What do we know about public attitudes?

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What do we know about public attitudes

Road User Charging: Building a consensus, Wednesday 26th October

What do we knowabout public attitudes?

Professor Glenn Lyons

Centre for Transport & Society, UWE, Bristol


Overview

Overview

  • Origins of the presentation

  • Attitudinal surveys’ results

  • Topic area findings

  • Summarising remarks


Origins of the presentation

Origins of the presentation

  • A review commissioned in March 2004 to inform the Government’s National Road Pricing Feasibility Study

  • An evidence-based review of attitudes to road pricing with the following objectives:

    • to undertake a comprehensive review of the evidence-base on attitudes to road pricing in the United Kingdom, and in other countries; and

    • to highlight and prioritise areas where our understanding of public and business attitudes could usefully be developed.

  • Some 200 articles catalogued and reviewed

  • 24 studies concerning attitudinal surveys

  • Key topic areas identified


Attitudinal surveys results

Attitudinal surveys’ results


Revenue return versus no return

‘Revenue-return’ versus ‘no return’

25a

25a

25b

25c

107

79

revenue return = improvements to public transport

ratio = % support / % oppose (if ratio>1 then net support)

2003 surveys occurred after the launch ofthe London scheme


Direct versus indirect returns

‘Direct’ versus ‘indirect’ returns

25a

25a

25b

25b

25c

25c

79

‘Direct’ = benefit to individual car user

‘Indirect’ = benefit to public transport

2003 survey occurred after the launch ofthe London scheme


Limitations of inter study comparisons

Limitations ofinter-study comparisons

  • incomplete understanding of the nature, design and timing of each survey

  • prevailing externalities

  • seldom designed with inter-study comparison in mind

  • time-series surveys an exception

ABD website:

“Road Pricing Proposals - Feedback to a

Commercial Radio Online Survey July 2004

65% of respondents were OPPOSED to

Darling's road pricing proposals.”


What do we know about public attitudes

Topic area findings

  • The importance of trade-offs

  • Informed attitudes

  • Determinants of attitudes

  • Disaggregating the public

  • Attitude shapers

  • Technologies

  • Equity

  • Business attitudes

  • Success and failure


The importance of trade offs

The importance of trade-offs

  • across national cultures acceptability of road pricing improves significantly when the revenues are hypothecated to the development of transport generally

  • most evidence on trade-offs concerns urban road pricing

  • unclear what monetary value motorists attach to congestion reduction and time saving

  • it is possible to achieve the twin goals of effectiveness and acceptability

  • RESEARCH NEEDED TO BETTER UNDERSTANDTHE (DYNAMICS OF) TRADE-OFFS BETWEENEFFECTIVENESS AND ACCEPTABILITY


Informed attitudes

Informed attitudes

  • level of knowledge or awareness is a determinant of attitude

  • any proposed road pricing scheme needs to be one which can be amenable to public understanding

  • an S-shaped time profile of acceptability may describe the process of urban road pricing acceptability

  • the motivation for knowledge acquisition changes from scheme concept to planned implementation

  • it is posited that the act of information provision could in itself could engender trust and acceptance

  • how perceptions and attitudes are influenced by the media, personal contacts and government information campaigns is poorly understood

  • RESEARCH NEEDED TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE DYNAMICS OF HOW ATTITUDES ARE FORMED OVERTIME IN THE FACE OF KNOWLEDGE ACQUISITIONFROM DIFFERENT SOURCES


Determinants of attitudes

Determinants of attitudes

  • perceptions are facts to those who hold them

  • non car users perceive both themselves and society as being better off while car users face conflicting motives of self-interest and social interest

  • relatively few studies have addressed the question of which determinants influence the degree of acceptability

  • perception of the primary policy objectives is significant

  • social norms, personal outcome expectations and perceived effectiveness are positively connected with acceptability while socio-economic characteristics such as income exert much less influence

  • attitudes appear to be more than just a reflection of self-interest

  • RESEARCH NEEDED TO RECOGNISE AND UNDERSTAND THE LINKS BETWEEN UNDERLYING VALUES AND THE FORMATION OF ATTITUDES


Disaggregating the public

Disaggregating the public

  • attitudes to pricing are more sympathetic in London than in other parts of the country

  • reasons for these differences are not clear nor is there an understanding of what distinguishes supportive Londoners from unsupportive Londoners

  • few accounts of attitudinal surveys attempt substantially to disaggregate their sample in order to pinpoint respondent characteristics of significance

  • surveys focus on the state of collective attitude rather than on understanding the makeup of that collective view

  • LONGER TERM RESEARCH NEEDED TO BETTERUNDERSTAND THE INFLUENCE OF GEOGRAPHICAL,SPATIAL, SOCIAL, INSTITUTIONAL AND PERSONALDIFFERENCES ON ATTITUDES


Attitude shapers

Attitude shapers

  • careful choice of which authority regulates, administers and implements any pricing measure, and the legitimacy that such an agency has in the eyes of stakeholders, may have an important influence over acceptability

  • the way in which the process leading to implementation is handled can be significant with international evidence reflecting both successes and failures

  • little understanding of the interplay and dynamics of policies on pricing held by different key voices (e.g. Select Committee, CfIT, AA)

  • the influence of leadership and policy entrepreneurs is acknowledged

  • it is conjectured that the media can influence the results of attitude surveys as can the dissemination of such results to the public at large

  • RESEARCH IS NEEDED TO UNDERSTAND THE INFLUENCE AND DYNAMICS OF AND INTERPLAYBETWEEN THE DIFFERENT POLICY ‘VOICES’


Technologies

Technologies

  • if road pricing technology does not work or is not easily understood by the public then its credibility is fatally undermined

  • technology can be instrumental in changing attitudes and acceptance at the point of and beyond implementation by allowing the charging system to be adapted to the needs and sensitivities of the public

  • although technology allows greater scope for design there is an impression that many proposed schemes remain unimaginative

  • there is little evidence on the significance of protection of privacy though available findings suggest this is currently of relatively minor importance though this may change if road pricing becomes a more popular policy solution

  • THERE IS A GENERAL NEED TO ACCOUNT FORHOW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS CAN POSITIVELY OR OTHERWISE DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY INFLUENCE ATTITUDES


Equity

Equity

  • despite several surveys revealing equity to be a prime element in acceptability much debate on equity issues has been theoretical

  • perceptions of inequity can fuel opposition to road pricing propositions

  • for affected individuals or organisations equity can be spatial and/or social

  • it is important to understand different perceptions of fairness amongst stakeholders and incorporate responses to these in scheme design

  • A NEED FOR RESEARCH TO UNDERSTAND HOW INTERPRETATIONS OF FAIRNESS DIFFER ACROSS A WIDE RANGE OF STAKEHOLDERS AND HOW TO ACCOMMODATE THIS INTO SCHEME DESIGN TO MAXIMISE THE NUMER OF ‘WINNERS’


Business attitudes

Business attitudes

  • the evidence base is much more limited in relation to business attitudes to road pricing and surveys to date have tended to be restricted in scope in terms of the size and type of business contacted

  • impacts of charging for businesses in London were found to vary considerably by economic sector

  • one study suggests that business may be as much concerned with fairness and equity issues as they are with the potential for economic displacement

  • there is a lack of studies which attempt to examine the structure and representative character of national and local business networks in relation to the road pricing debate

  • MORE REPRESENTATIVE SURVEYS OF BUSINESSATTITUDES ARE REQUIRED WHICH CONSIDER EFFECTS OF ECONOMIC SECTOR, SIZE AND LOCATION AND HOW BUSINESS KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDES MAY SHIFT OVER TIME


Success and failure in the introduction of road pricing

Success and failure in the introduction of road pricing

  • while a number of articles examine reasons for success or failure of specific schemes, comparative studies are uncommon

  • reasons for success include: intolerable traffic problems; adequate alternative(s) to car use; political conviction and stability; a single empowered delivery agency; accepted technology; hypothecation and compensation of losers; education; and clear business strategy

  • reasons for failure include: political uncertainty; poor communication from government to the electorate; loose ends to be seized on by opponents; failure to engage with the public in debate and failure to be specific about use of revenue

  • it is suggested that gaining national acceptance for a national scheme will be more challenging than the education and participation of a discrete and defined section of the public concerning a local scheme

  • A COMPARATIVE ANALYTICAL STUDY IS ADVOCATED TO DEVELOP A ‘BEST PRACTICE’GUIDE TO POLICY MAKING AND IMPLEMENTATION


Summarising remarks

Summarising remarks

  • There is an abundance of literature on attitudes to road pricing which ably points to the pertinent issues but leaves a trail of evidence gaps

  • It is suggested that a knowledge of what attitudes are held is of less value (though far from unimportant) to policy considerations than a much needed greater knowledge of why different attitudes are held and whether and how attitudes can be influenced

  • Attitudes are not static and recent developments in the UK have moved us into uncharted territory in terms of factors that affect attitudes – as such the relevance of much research is diminished over time


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