An Empirical Analysis of the Impact of Congestion Charges on Public Opinion in Gothenburg
Abstract: Despite the many social benefits of congestion pricing, it has been immensely difficult to overcome the public opposition and introduce a charging system. With the recent commencement of congestion charges in Gothenburg, this study examines what factors have contributed to the development of the attitude of car owners to the charges. More specifically, we will analyse whether the charges paid have had an impact on the attitude, even after controlling for socio-economic variables and beliefs in the effects. Relying mostly on panel data analysis, the results indicate that charges paid have had a negative and significant effect on the public opinion. However, positive expected effects and the fairness of the charges are more important determinants of attitudes. Policy-makers in Gothenburg need to address the equity concerns more vigorously while communicating the positive effects of the charges to the public, and this is especially important when the charge levels are raised in the future.