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Towards a New Era in Road Pricing? Lessons from the Experience of First Movers

Economists have long argued that road pricing improves the efficiency of infrastructure development. However, pricing projects for roads remain scarce, often for lack of political support. This research focuses on the mechanisms through which technological innovation, and, more specifically, the emergence of satellite-based navigation systems, contributes to the success of road pricing projects in four jurisdictions considered as first movers: Singapore, United States (Oregon), Germany and Norway. Interviews with local experts helped determine how the problem, policy and political streams converge to enable implementation of road pricing projects in these countries. The first movers’ experience demonstrates that new technologies and increasing traffic problems are factors that contribute to an increasing need for pricing, but do not eliminate political hurdles. This suggests that it is better to plan things far ahead of time and move forward slowly in the hope of one day successfully implementing a road pricing project.  

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