Discuss the Pros and Cons of Implementing a Nationwide Road Pricing Scheme

2383 Words Dec 18th, 2012 10 Pages
Discuss the pros and cons of implementing a nationwide road pricing scheme
The introduction of a nationwide road pricing scheme has been extensively considered in the UK. Early deliberations in the ‘Smeed Report’ implemented road pricing in 1962 using a colour coding system. With computing and telecommunications changes in recent years there is potential for the road pricing scheme, which was a component of the labour manifesto in 2005 using satellite navigation to track vehicle activity, to be developed and implemented. The concept of introducing a market for roads through road pricing has become a highly discussed topic due to the complexity of the operation and how it could revolutionise the actions of drivers in the future with a
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A substitution effect could occur towards use of public transport resulting in less congestion. Person B represents a person exhibiting price inelasticity with respect to demand where a large change in price will lead to a smaller change in demand.

This differentiates between people who will still use the road despite the high price, and those who may make the journey at a different time, use a different route, or don’t make the journey at all. This will ultimately decrease congestion, particularly in high priced areas, and the people who will pay the price enjoy less congestion on the journey. The graph below shows the distribution of traffic flows at different times and days of the week. There are drastic changes with peak times around 9 and 5 with a drop in the middle of the day. The technology needs to be advanced enough to use information like this to target high amounts of congestion while allowing people to still make their journeys if they can be flexible on time.

Although the road pricing scheme can be considered a ‘fair’ allocation of road space in the sense that it is putting a monetary value on a good which is limited in supply, the scheme could increase inequality as high

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