Public supports road user charging, research finds

Motorists would consider new forms of road user charging, according to a report by leading think tank Independent Transport Commission (ITC).

Given the apparent public hostility to any suggestion of road user charging ITC has sought to uncover just what the public really think when presented with the facts and a range of possible solutions.

The headline findings include the following:

  • When armed with the facts, there is less public support for maintaining the status quo than is commonly believed. Of those polled, 65% supported some new form of paying for road use in the light of declining revenue from fuel duty
  • No options for reform of paying for road use are wholly rejected, including charging per mile and a new charge for using motorways as alternatives to fuel duty. There was also significant support by higher motorway mileage users (34% of drivers polled) for paying a congestion charge partly on the grounds that it would free up road space for those paying
  • Citizens are much more willing to consider new forms of paying for road use when properly informed and when the full context is explained. They also have a preference for funding choices where they retain some control – such as peak hour only charges or different rates between local roads and motorways – rather than blanket measures such as area charging or general income tax increases
  • Concerns about equity and fairness are clearly important issues for the public and need to be adequately addressed if any reform is to be widely welcomed. However, although measures to reduce carbon emissions were supported, this was not a strong influence on personal choices.

Steve Norris, former Transport Minister and chairman of the ITC Working Group, commented: “There is a potential black hole in the public finances as motoring taxes pay for more than our national roads. To a significant extent they also pay for schools and hospitals, so governments will shortly be facing the unpalatable political reality of either having to reduce public spending significantly or raising additional taxes elsewhere, unless they engage seriously with how the country pays for its roads and road use. As rapid progress in technology brings down the infrastructure costs of creating a charging regime and the use of travel information expands the traditional hurdles to road pricing on the national strategic road network decrease.”

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What utter rubbish.

This is an attempt by a backward think tank to suggest driver attitudes towards Road Pricing have changed.

They have not. The biggest petition ever on the Downing Street website opposed Road Pricing and little has changed.

Let’s not see this disingenuous report highlighted as a starting gun for privatised roads with pay-per-mile travel as it will most certainly result in widespread opposition.

This company stands to make money from charging tech. No wonder they want people to be for it. Every other survey, poll, etc. has come out massively against any road pricing, charging, tolling, call it what you will. The concept is 19th century – and was unpopular even then. This is possibly preparation for a sell-off (or lease-off) of OUR highways – for which we have already paid dearly. Hands Off!

This will put the UK back to the dark ages – a case of Highway Robbery!