Road pricing is increasingly being considered by cities as a strategy to manage demand and support transportation infrastructure. Road pricing is a charge applied to use the road and can be implemented in different ways, including as area and cordon pricing, distance-based charges, and congestion-point charges.
Cities that have implemented large-scale road pricing systems have seen notable reductions in traffic congestion. However, there are concerns that imposing an additional fee to drive may deepen existing inequities in transportation, particularly for low income populations or for those with limited public transit options.
This project aimed to understand how implementing road pricing across Metro Vancouver could impact transportation and health equity, with an emphasis on understanding the youth perspective. The project involved two research activities:
1) a literature review on road pricing and transportation and health equity; and
2) a workshop with members of the Transport 2050 Youth Advisory Council.
The key findings from the literature review were:
- The existing evidence on road pricing systems suggests mostly net positive effects related to a reduction in car trips, air pollution, asthma attacks, and road traffic collisions, but that there is some degree of inequity in the distribution of impacts.
- Across population groups, the populations that generally fared the effects of road pricing better were people with higher incomes, men, people aged 35-55, and residents living inside the priced area.
The key findings from the Youth Advisory Council workshop were:
- Majority were supportive of the idea of a congestion pricing policy for Metro Vancouver, but were less likely to think that their closest family and friends would support the idea.
- They felt that revenue raised from congestion pricing should be redistributed to improve public transportation and infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists.
For more details:
- Hosford, K., Firth, C., Brauer, M., & Winters, M. (2021). The effects of road pricing on transportation and health equity: a scoping review. Transport reviews, 41(6), 766-787. [article]
- Transportation and Health Equity of Road Pricing [short report]
- Exploring the Youth Perspective on Congestion Pricing in Metro Vancouver [report]
This project was funded by the Community Engaged Research Initiative at SFU.