In recent years, considerable research has been undertaken into the implementation of urban pricing projects. In reality however many uncertainties remain concerning the terms and conditions for successful implementation. It is clear that large demonstrations are necessary to provide basic empirical evidence on how best to balance some of the critical issues, thereby aiding the identification of appropriate urban pricing policies and the effective design and implementation of schemes.
The main aim for CUPID was to provide an advance state of the art knowledge on urban transport pricing schemes through a European cross level site assessment of city demonstration project results, to produce robust policy recommendations and to widely disseminate the results. An important part of the assessment was the liaison with the demonstration cities as part of the PRoGRESS project and the provision of guidance for other cities interested and willing to take another step towards the introduction of pricing schemes.
- To manage the CUPID project to meet EC task objectives, to a high quality and within time, cost and resource constraints.
- To support the transport pricing demonstration sites to meet EC task objectives to a high quality and within time, cost and resource constraints and to enable the demonstrations to incorporate and test state of the art research on transport pricing in practical trials.
- To achieve continuous and effective outreach of the progress and results from the demonstration sites and of the conclusions of the thematic network experts - to exploit and disseminate results and to build and achieve a wider debate and consensus on urban transport pricing policy options. To make European cities feel it is their demonstration programme, maximising EU added value.
- To achieve maximum input and continuous, effective dialogue with relevant EC national and local transport projects and demonstrations to ensure that participants at the thematic network and demonstration site levels have a continuous intelligence stream with which to develop effective demonstrations, informed debate and concrete policy conclusions.
- To produce an assessment framework based on existing methodologies for designing and implementing the demonstrations and a methodology for assessment and evaluation at local, cross-site and cross-application levels to assess both direct and indirect impacts.
- To support the selection, design, implementation and monitoring of a coherent set of effective demonstrations; to build in the principle of marginal cost pricing at all stages: demonstrations of sufficient size and duration to complete a high quality and wide ranging impact assessment.
- To facilitate a thorough impact assessment at demonstration site level and to co-ordinate a cross-site and cross application assessment at European level to cover all of the relevant issues including user response and acceptance, enforcement, financial feasibility, institutional settings, privacy and technical aspects linked to infrastructure and equipment, wider impacts on EC policy, social and economic effects etc.
- To produce a set of common, coherent policy recommendations, from the demonstration sites and the thematic level, for the implementation of transport pricing schemes in urban areas for broad use by local/regional authorities and to further influence policy development at national and EU levels.
The Rome CUPID/PROGESS Evaluation Workshop in April 2002 agreed upon 11 questions that should be answered by the end of the two projects, as part of the process of providing generic recommendations to European cities. Since the Rome workshop, four further questions have been added (including a question concerning privacy suggested at the Copenhagen workshop). These questions are of two types. Firstly there are eight 'definition questions':
- Who should be charged?
- Where should road users be charged?
- How should road users be charged?
- How should enforcement operate?
- When should road users be charged?
- How much should be paid?
- How should revenue be used?
- How can privacy be ensured?
Secondly there are seven 'process' questions:
9. Why did you start looking at road pricing?
10. What is the best way to introduce road pricing?
11. What is it that is special about your city?
12. Why have things not gone in the way planned?
13. How will you judge whether the scheme is a success?
14. What have you learnt in the process?
15. What are the key factors in your success?
It was agreed that initially a priori answers to these questions would be given, also based on consultation with PROGRESS partners. The evidence provided by the PRoGRESS demonstrations (over the following year) have then been used to revise these answers in order to provide 'final' recommendations. The difference between a priori answers and final answers thus represents what new lessons have been learnt by the PRoGRESS/CUPID projects.
CUPID provided answers to 15 key questions based on results of evaluations in the 8 cities of the PROGRESS project (Bristol, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Genoa, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Rome and Trondheim).
- Who should be charged? Most cities recommend exemptions for cycles, buses, emergency vehicles and disabled drivers. Motor-cycles are currently often exempt for practical reasons. Cities are likely to have to develop a more complex list of exemptions by the time a scheme is implemented. Probably the most contentious issue concerns exemptions for residents living within or immediately outside a charged area.
- Where should road users be charged? This is a complex question, the answer to which depends heavily on urban form and objectives. However, three general types of charging area can be identified: city centre, citywide and metropolitan area. If the main objective of charging is to reduce congestion, then city centre or citywide schemes are most appropriate, using either area licensing or cordon charges. If the main objective is 'mobility management' (thus reducing the output of gases that contribute to global warming), then metropolitan area charging is appropriate, using distance-based charging.
- How should road users be charged? A range of options were considered, but in general more conventional solutions such as DSRC (Dedicated short-range communication) were preferred ultimately. VPS (Vehicle positioning system) is seen as offering a useful alternative in the future, but at present the technology is not sufficiently mature. This severely restricts the feasibility of introducing distance-based charging.
- How should enforcement operate? Most cities felt that ANPR (Automatic number plate recognition) was the optimum approach.
- When should road users be charged? Most cities focused on the working weekday, charging either 'all day' or solely for the morning peak. An issue to be resolved concerns whether charging should be made in the evening. This depends very much upon the characteristics of evening traffic in the city concerned, and whether the city authority wants to restrain or encourage such traffic.
- How much should be paid? Cities with fixed price schemes suggested charges of around €1-3 daily.. In London a higher fee of around €7 was charged although this resulted in greater reduction in traffic than anticipated. Charges of between €0.01 and €0.6 per km were suggested for when distance-based charging becomes feasible (due to improveme
Recommendations from CUPID are as follows:
- pricing is a valid tool for tackling issues of urban congestion and environmental impact;
- pricing must be planned and implemented within the political context;
- the objectives of the scheme must be based upon identifiable need and used as the basis for design;
- there is a clear case for transparency and accountability in the allocation of revenues; in general hypothecation of revenues within the transport sector is seen as a priority;
- implementation may be best achieved through a quick and extensive process, which combines rapid awareness raising with effective project management;
- a strong scheme promoter will be needed to implement the scheme;
- top-down political support to local decision-makers is needed is pricing tale up is to become widespread in the short to medium term.
The steps needed to increase the probability of a successful implementation and operation are as follows:
- secure political support;
- start with discussion about the problem, causes of problems and objectives to be reached for the city;
- discuss solutions demonstrating pricing as the best if not the only solution to perceived problems;
- design something simple as part of an integrated package of measures and discuss how revenues should be used;
- conduct a visible consultation to show that the solutions will be designed taking into account the views of all stakeholders and that there is broad support in principle, and discuss exemptions;
- involve the media;
- solution forming and presentation by assessing impact and demonstrating likely outcome;
- monitor to demonstrate impacts;
- follow-up assessment, adjustments and learning;
- refine with adjustment to a more sophisticated system over time if necessary.
Further research is suggested in the following areas:
- economic and relocation impacts,
- empirical research into decision-making structure and political process,
- techniques for stakeholder involvement,
- continuing surveys on attitudes,
- charging structure, ie how time-based charging might be implemented without encouraging unsafe driving, how distance-based charging might be made more flexible, GPS-based charging and enforcement systems,
- impacts of exemptions and rebates on travel patters of those