Improving road pricing for urban Australia: potential equity issues
Sen, S & Charles, MB 2014, 'Improving road pricing for urban Australia: potential equity issues', Road and Transport Research Journal, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 29-40.
Transport policy-makers, practitioners and public transport advocates have identified traditional road pricing as one of the reasons behind the widening gap between government funding and demand for road transport in urban Australia, all of which suggests a need for reform. Recent discussions on road user charging (RUC) in Australia, which mostly advocate kilometre-based national-road pricing or some form of targeted charging, appear to lack a holistic approach. In particular, they often discount or underrate the need for a viable transport alternative to road. The Australian context is also markedly different from most commonly referred to international cases cited in support of RUC reform. In fact, public or active transport in Australia is not a feasible travel alternative for many, even in urban environments, and this could compel many captive road users to bear additional transport burdens. This article provides an insight into potential equity problems that may arise if road pricing reforms are based on recent prima facie propositions and seeks to stimulate further discussion on the topic.