Evaluating the equity effects of road-pricing in the European urban context – The Madrid Metropolitan Area
The paper identifies the potential spatial and social impacts of a proposed road-pricing scheme for different social groups in the Madrid Metropolitan Area (MMA). We appraise the accessibility of different districts within the MMA in terms of the actual and perceived cost of using the road infrastructure ‘before’ and ‘after’ implementation of the scheme. The appraisal framework was developed using quantitative survey data and qualitative focus group discussions with residents. We then simulated user behaviours (mode and route choice) based on the empirical evidence from a travel demand model for the MMA. The results from our simulation model demonstrated that implementation of the toll on the orbital metropolitan motorways (M40, M30, for example) decreases accessibility mostly in the districts where there are no viable public transport alternatives.
Our specific study finding is that the economic burden of the road-pricing scheme particularly affects unskilled and lower income individuals living in the south of the MMA. The focus groups confirmed that low income drivers in the south part of the MMA would reduce their use of tolled roads and have to find new arrangements for these trips: i.e. switch to public transport, spend double the time travelling or stay at home. More generally, our research finds that European transport planners are still a long way from recognising the social equity implications of their policy decisions and that more thorough social appraisals are needed to avoid the social exclusion of low income populations when road tolling is proposed.
Di Ciommo, F., & Lucas, K. (2014). Evaluating the equity effects of road-pricing in the European urban context – The Madrid Metropolitan Area. Applied Geography, 54, 74–82. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2014.07.015