UK motorists would be in favour of potential road use charging for the road network according to a new report by a transport think tank.
The report, delivered by the Independent Transport Commission (ITC), found that roughly 65 percent of those surveyed (2,250 people from across the UK demographic) supported the concept of a new form of paying for road use, long seen as a controversial vote loser within UK political circles.
According to the report, none of the suggested road pricing scenarios were completely rejected; the highest supported option, at 26 per cent, was for a peak-time charge on congested motorways.
In the report’s Foreword, Steve Norris, chair of the ITC’s Paying for Roads & Road Use Working Group and a former Transport Minister, discussed the need for informed debate as well as equity and fairness for road users. The findings are presented in this report and they are striking. First, it appears that there is rather less support for maintaining the status quo than is commonly believed. Second, no options for reform of paying for road use are wholly rejected. Third, it is clear that citizens are much more willing to consider new forms of paying for road use when properly informed and when the full context is explained. And fourth, concerns about equity and fairness are clearly important issues for the public and need to be adequately addressed if any reform is to be widely welcomed.
At a time when major investment in the UK’s road network is planned, these findings should make an important contribution to policy formation and need to be taken seriously. We recognise that this is a sensitive political issue, but this research demonstrates that, when in possession of the facts about road use and declining fuel duty revenues, the public are much more willing to embrace modern forms of paying for road use than is commonly believed. With a new Government in place, now is the time to reconsider this issue and think about new forms of paying for road use.
The report is available for download from the ITC website www.theitc.org.uk