Third of motorists receptive to road payments

A survey carried out on behalf of the Independent Transport Commission, indicates that one-third of motorists are receptive to new forms of funding to pay for roads and their upkeep. 

Over 2,200 people took part in the survey from all parts of the UK representing a mix of commuters, rural and urban residents, drivers and non-drivers, high and low mileage drivers, men and women, employment status, retired and different ages.

The main conclusion from the road funding exercise, says the ITC, is that the majority of motorists are receptive to new forms of funding and that nothing is ruled out either for individuals or on grounds of political support. 

The ITC says that the choices which people prefer for funding “are those which (at least in terms of perception) are seen to give people some control over choices. Thus peak charges or choices between local roads and motorways are more popular than blanket measures such as area charging or income tax increases”.

Steve Norris, Chairman of the Paying for Roads & Road Use Working Group at the ITC commented: “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. There is significant support for new forms of charging and nothing is ruled out. People are realistic about the need for new sources of funding for roads especially when presented with a few prior facts about the decline in revenue from motoring. A third support the status quo and this contrasts with a third who see strong advantages in new forms of charging.

“The ITC believes that it will shortly no longer be possible for this issue simply to be pushed into the long grass. Given the apparent hostility to any suggestion of pricing we were keen to test this assumption and to uncover the real state of public attitudes towards a wide range of reforms concerning how we pay for our roads and road use. 

“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. With a new Government in place, now is the time to reconsider this issue and think about new forms of paying for road use.”