The Swiss Constitution prohibits road user charging. A possible introduction of new forms of pricing for the use of transport infrastructure needs in the first place the acceptance of the Swiss population. The research project "Acceptability of Mobility Pricing" (part of the research package 'Mobility Pricing' of the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) investigates individual and political acceptance and builds up on existing analyses.
At the centre are the following questions:
- Which general conditions will cause Mobility Pricing to be accepted?
- Which configurations (models) of Mobility Pricing will be accepted and how well?
- Which factors are critical regarding acceptance, which factors are less relevant?
The analysis of acceptability with the help of the analysis methods used in this study has shown general success factors and indications for a probable use of Mobility Pricing as well on a strategic as on an operational level.
The analysis refers predominantly to Mobility Pricing in road transport (focus on passenger cars). Additionally, one has to make allowances for the fact that this is a snapshot. Thanks to comparisons with the PRIMA-study temporal comparisons could be made.
For the additional development of Mobility Pricing in Switzerland the following conclusions can be drawn from the point of view of acceptability:
Opinions regarding a concrete configuration and direction of impact of Mobility Pricing are not made yet. The argument of the polluter-pays-principle has become more relevant. This is also a chance to increase the sensitivity of the population with specific information about the pros and cons as well as to possible pricing schemes.
Mobility Pricing must have a significant effect. Accordingly, verifiable desired effects are a central factor. The instrument is perceived by the population first of all as a traffic management measure and less as a financing measure.
The connecting factor for Mobility Pricing is located more in the cities, where a visible effect can be achieved. Here the distribution effect between the city and the surrounding areas needs to be taken into account (zone boundaries, resident discounts, special permits etc.).
It has to be verifiable that socially regressive effects can be avoided. Even though in terms of figures a fairly positive balance can be figured out, the social argument is very central and should be looked at more in-depth.
Acceptable Mobility Pricing systems have to be simple. An increase of complexity (i.e. differentiation of tariffs) makes sense only in a later phase and then only if incentives for efficient transport behaviour result.
In Switzerland, one has above all to pay attention to the fact that a priori a national debate will be necessary and that the federal components (distribution aspects Federation-cantons-communities) are from the point of view of acceptability fairly relevant.