Multidisciplinary and integrative approach studies


Multi-modal networks

Multiple operators: multiple governments and private operators

Institutional acceptability and transition

Spatial markets

Behavioural effects and acceptability in pricing experiments


A. Multi-modal networks (TUD-T&P, VU)

To assess transport pricing measures on a network-wide scale, the use of transport network models is usually necessary, as even local pricing measures may have impacts on a larger scale. And because innovative road and transport pricing schemes will be time- and location-specific, dynamic network models are needed. Earlier dynamic network models used in road pricing studies have some shortcomings that we try to overcome in sub-study A (spillback, heterogeneity of travelers, etc.).

In this multidisciplinary study, we aim to combine the economic models developed in sub-project 1 with the traffic network models in sub-project 2, and use these models to forecast impacts of specific pricing measures on congestion, revenues, safety, the environment, economic consumer surplus and welfare, among others. Including safety and the environment means that sustainability is addressed explicitly. An important addition to previous studies is to take public transport explicitly into account. This way, insight is gained about the potential of pricing to achieve synergy in infrastructures. Also within the same infrastructure type (e.g., road), multiple road operators may exist (highways versus city road networks). Optimal pricing can also achieve spatial transitions between these networks.

A phase-wise introduction of road pricing will also be simulated. These can be phases in terms of the number and types of vehicles being priced, or the number or types of locations being priced, or even the levels of the prices being slowly increased. Phase-wise introduction may not only be more feasible from a practical point of view, but may also lead to more stability on the network flows.

 

B. Multiple operators: multiple governments and private operators (VU, TUD-T&P, RuG, TUD-TBM)

Many studies into transport pricing implicitly or explicitly assume that there is one single government, controlling an entire network and setting tolls and fares, and sometimes also capacities, such that a “global” – i.e., a network-wide – objective like social surplus is maximized. The reality, however, is often that multiple regulators are active on the same network. This can be vertically arranged governments, such as a national and a local road authority controlling different roads, or horizontally arranged government, e.g., in border areas. The issue seems of paramount importance in the context of national road pricing plans, as currently proposed for the Netherlands, because it is hard to imagine that local governments would have no role in the determination of tolls in their jurisdiction – if anything, for those tolls that apply on local roads. Conceptually similar set-ups may arise when the implementation of road pricing is coupled to the introduction of private roads in otherwise public networks. Likewise, comparable issues arise when considering the competition and interactions between roads and public transport, or when multiple public transport operators are active in the same network. This sub-study will pay attention to transport pricing with multiple operators, both governments and private road companies, as well as public transport operators.

The contribution of the economics group will be the development of small network models in which toll competition between different operators can be analyzed in a strategic, game-theoretic set-up. The extension of models of these types to larger and dynamic networks, for which analytical results will be hard to obtain but numerical optimization is still possible, will be the domain of the traffic engineering group. These two groups will work closely together on this theme. The models to be used are those described for sub-study A above. The governance group will study the conditions and scope for cooperation between governments, despite their possibly conflicting interests. And finally, the psychologists’ group will look at the acceptability impacts of having innovative transport pricing implemented by multiple governments, and of having private operators. This will be part of the questionnaires described in question 9 below.  

 

C. Institutional acceptability and transition (TUD-TBM, RuG)

The main research question in this sub-study is: To what extent do external influences have an impact on the (dynamics in) stakeholders’ opinions on innovative pricing in general, and road pricing in particular?

We distinguish different types of stakeholders: (1) politicians, policy makers and local / regional authorities; (2) the transport sector (roads, rail, other); (3) other interest groups. With respect to external forces we distinguish between (1) opinions and actions of other stakeholders (2) media, the public and political issues; (3) information on road pricing and public transport pricing, such as estimated impacts. We will study how stakeholders process and consider the relevant opinions, and how this affects the strength and stability of the resulting opinion change. Do stakeholders particularly consider the arguments provided, or mainly take account of so-called peripheral cues, among which characteristics of the source (e.g., credibility, competence, attractiveness) (c.f., Eagly & Chaiken, 1993; Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). Does the former result in more stable opinion changes? Under which circumstances are stakeholders more likely to consider the arguments provided or to take account of peripheral cues? Does this differ for different information sources or reference groups? In particular we will focus on the importance of (a) synergy between networks and the role of priC. Institutional acceptability and transition (TUD-TBM, RuG)

The main research question in this sub-study is: To what extent do external influences have an impact on the (dynamics in) stakeholders’ opinions on innovative pricing in general, and road pricing in particular?

We distinguish different types of stakeholders: (1) politicians, policy makers and local / regional authorities; (2) the transport sector (roads, rail, other); (3) other interest groups. With respect to external forces we distinguish between (1) opinions and actions of other stakeholders (2) media, the public and political issues; (3) information on road pricing and public transport pricing, such as estimated impacts. We will study how stakeholders process and consider the relevant opinions, and how this affects the strength and stability of the resulting opinion change. Do stakeholders particularly consider the arguments provided, or mainly take account of so-called peripheral cues, among which characteristics of the source (e.g., credibility, competence, attractiveness) (c.f., Eagly & Chaiken, 1993; Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). Does the former result in more stable opinion changes? Under which circumstances are stakeholders more likely to consider the arguments provided or to take account of peripheral cues? Does this differ for different information sources or reference groups? In particular we will focus on the importance of (a) synergy between networks and the role of pricing policies, (b) synergy between land use and transport; this synergy might be of interest for (at least) the transport sector and local/regional authorities, (c) a broad spectrum of policy goals and interests, including environmental / sustainability related goals; this might be of interest for other interest groups and politicians / policy makers, and (d) the impact of vehicle technology (e.g. the penetration of electrical vehicles) on the interests of stakeholders.

The theoretical background for this research is provided by several disciplines, including (1) psychological theories on the effects of information and persuasion based on different information processing strategies and theories on social norms, that explain when opinions and actions of others will particularly be influential; (2) Public Choice Theory; and (3) welfare economics. We consider these theories as complementary, and all contribute to the research design (see below) and interpretation of results.

An experimental research design will be applied. Hypothetical combinations of external information will be presented to important stakeholders. The external information will vary by stakeholder group, type of external force, and type of information provided (e.g., arguments versus peripheral cues). Information that stakeholders receive will be realistic (from their point of view) and not available to them yet. It could relate to recent experiences in other countries, technology (e.g. prices, privacy issues, reliability), new insights into congestion or environmental effects. By comparing opinions of experimental groups (who read the hypothetical information) with opinions of a control group who did not read any information, we can examine to what extent the information influenced the opinion of different stakeholder groups, and which stakeholder groups are most influential in the public debate. Besides, we will conduct a questionnaire study to examine which information sources and which groups are consulted by various stakeholder groups.
cing policies, (b) synergy between land use and transport; this synergy might be of interest for (at least) the transport sector and local/regional authorities, (c) a broad spectrum of policy goals and interests, including environmental / sustainability related goals; this might be of interest for other interest groups and politicians / policy makers, and (d) the impact of vehicle technology (e.g. the penetration of electrical vehicles) on the interests of stakeholders.

The theoretical background for this research is provided by several disciplines, including (1) psychological theories on the effects of information and persuasion based on different information processing strategies and theories on social norms, that explain when opinions and actions of others will particularly be influential; (2) Public Choice Theory; and (3) welfare economics. We consider these theories as complementary, and all contribute to the research design (see below) and interpretation of results.

An experimental research design will be applied. Hypothetical combinations of external information will be presented to important stakeholders. The external information will vary by stakeholder group, type of external force, and type of information provided (e.g., arguments versus peripheral cues). Information that stakeholders receive will be realistic (from their point of view) and not available to them yet. It could relate to recent experiences in other countries, technology (e.g. prices, privacy issues, reliability), new insights into congestion or environmental effects. By comparing opinions of experimental groups (who read the hypothetical information) with opinions of a control group who did not read any information, we can examine to what extent the information influenced the opinion of different stakeholder groups, and which stakeholder groups are most influential in the public debate. Besides, we will conduct a questionnaire study to examine which information sources and which groups are consulted by various stakeholder groups.  

 

D. Spatial markets (VU, TUD-T&P)

An important aspect concerns interactions and synergies between transport markets and spatial (urban) markets, like those for land and labour, in the context of the analysis of transport pricing impacts. The economic monodisciplinary sub-study(see Section 9 below) will develop conceptual urban equilibrium models that will look into these issues. In this multi-disciplinary sub-study we will take the predicted spatial impacts of pricing from such models, like changes in urban densities and therewith the spatial pattern of transport demand, and feed them back into the traffic engineers’ network models to see if the predicted network equilibrium is then consistent with that from the economic models – which typically will have a much simpler network configuration.

In this way, the spatial impacts of innovative pricing in transport will not only be predicted and accounted for in the context of conceptual models, but also in the context of rich dynamic traffic equilibrium models.

This sub-project is closely tied to sub-project A on multi-modal network modeling, carried out by the same two consortium partners.  

 

E. Behavioural effects and acceptability in pricing experiments (RuG, VU, TUD-T&P, TUD-TBM)

This sub-study will examine how the behavioural effects of innovative transport pricing in general and road pricing in particular develop during its planning and implementation. Also, we will study which individual and situational factors, and non-pricing policies influence behavioural effects and dynamics in these effects via questionnaire studies, field experiments, and modelling studies. The sub-study will focus strongly on road pricing.

In questionnaire studies, respondents will evaluate the behavioural effects of hypothetical road pricing policies that vary systematically on level of differentiation and in the sequence of implementation (e.g., start in certain areas or with certain groups). We will consider both short and long term behavioural effects, including driving style, travel behaviour (trip chaining, route choice, time of travel, destination choice, trip suppression, and mode choice), vehicle ownership (type of car, car ownership), and location choice (choice of residence and workplace), and study to what extent these effects depend on individual motivations, abilities, and opportunities. The questionnaires will also examine whether effects of road pricing depend on the implementation of supplementary non-road pricing policies, including infrastructural investments, investments in public transport, public transport pricing, and information campaigns on the aim and expected effects of road pricing (e.g., improve accessibility or environmental quality). We will particularly study supplementary non-road pricing policies that may strengthen the effects of road pricing, e.g., because they provide users with feasible options to replace their car trips (in general, at certain times, or at certain places), or because they stress the expected or actual benefits of road pricing (e.g., less travel time, better accessibility or improved environmental quality).

Data from field experiments are used to investigate the actual behavioural effects impacts of road pricing, and to examine if and why behavioural these effects change over time. We will not only examine behavioural effects, but also perceived effects on congestion, accessibility, and environmental quality. The latter reveals to what extent road pricing promotes sustainability. To study the dynamics in behavioural effects and its underlying causes, we will monitor travel behaviour before, during, and after the relevant experiments, and will use a control group.

Finally, modelling studies will be used to examine various situational factors that interact in a dynamic way with road pricing, including labour markets, land and real estate markets. These factors will affect the impacts of road pricing, but road pricing will also influence these markets. Besides, we will model the impacts of different sequences of implementation on policy effectiveness, based on the outcomes of the questionnaire studies. This part of the sub-study will be performed in close cooperation with the economic monodisciplinary sub-study. Also, network models to be developed in sub-study A will be employed. Both sets of models allow the analysis of different sequences of implementation.