A Strategic Niche Analysis of Urban Road Pricing in the UK and Norway
Traditional transport policies of road expansion entail a relatively simple system of actors and processes around which expertise, knowledge, and skills which has built up over many decades. Some of the more radical Travel Demand Management measures, including urban road pricing, involve a complicated set of institutions, processes, people and procedures. Road pricing schemes often get delayed or abandoned due to controversy, disagreements, unanticipated problems and a whole host of other delaying factors. If they are implemented, they tend to be diluted and consequently become less effective. Strategic Niche Management (SNM) has previously been used to provide guidelines on the implementation of innovative transport technologies through setting up protected experimental settings (niches) in which actors learn about the design, user needs, social and political acceptability, and other aspects. Here SNM is modified to cover a policy approach through the analysis of road user charging case studies in the UK and Norway. A detailed analysis of the road user charging schemes in Bergen, Oslo, Durham and London is presented. Key factors identified include the role of stakeholder and user networks, the existence of a project champion, understanding the motivations and expectations of stakeholders and users, learning with regards to the regional context, and the change in perceptions associated with acceptance. Comparison between the four cases shows different approaches emerging from each country in implementing and ‘marketing’ of the policies. The paper concentrates on approaches such as: the purpose for introducing the policies, the involvement of users in the planning process and, the use of revenues for either providing alternative transport modes or financing road infrastructure. Key factors identified using the SNM framework include the role of stakeholder and user networks, the existence of a project champion, understanding the motivations and expectations of stakeholders and users, learning with regards to the regional context, and the change in perceptions associated with acceptance. This type of analysis could prove useful for transport planners envisaging the implementation of road pricing projects.
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