City tolls that work

City tolls are widely recognised as an effective policy measure to fight congestion and decrease the negative environmental impacts of car traffic in cities. However, they suffer from low public acceptability, with one reason being expected adverse distributional impacts. Such public resistance makes the idea of city tolls de facto non-operational, with noticeable exceptions being Singapore, London, Stockholm and Gothenburg. This motivates our search for road tolling schemes that can really work in cities, i.e., that make cities more accessible and sustainable, while also being perceived as fair and having broad public support.

To succeed, one first needs to gain a solid understanding of what population groups actually benefit and lose under existing city tolls and why. We use unique real-world congestion pricing and registry data of the full Swedish population to acquire new insights on long-term distributional effects of city tolls. These will inform our project further, as we propose and gauge public support for an innovative road-pricing scheme with a cash-back component, in which collected tolls are returned directly back to drivers in the form of public transport tokens. We will then design a field experiment that measures behavioral reactions to such novel pricing instruments.


Duration: 2023 – 2025
Contact: Stefanie Peer,
Partners: Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien – Multilevel Governance & Development (University, Austria), Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies (BICEPS) (Research Centre, Latvia), Dolphin Technologies GmbH (Company (SE), Austria), Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute Statens väg- och transportforskningsinstitut (VTI) (Company, Sweden)




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