Congestion, air pollution and road accidents. Each of these negative effects of traffic can be limited by implementing road pricing policy: measures that would see road users pay for using the roads, such as pay-as-you-drive schemes, tolls, rush-hour stickers or mileage rates. Road pricing policy is a promising alternative to constructing additional roads or the introduction of more traffic management, but the implementation process will need to be carefully considered. Diana Vonk Noordegraaf will obtain her doctorate on this subject at TU Delft on Wednesday, 8 June 2016.

Implementation process

If road pricing policy is considered, a complicated implementation process needs to be taken into account. Diana Vonk Noordegraaf identified more than 30 factors that can influence the successful introduction of road pricing policy measures, such as pay-as-you-drive. She was able to identify these factors after researching six cases of road pricing policy, in Singapore, London, Stockholm, Norwegian cities, Hong Kong and Edinburgh. She also researched the period in which an attempt was made to introduce mileage rates in the Netherlands (2004-2010). Her research revealed that the implementation was approached correctly, but that it failed due to mileage rates becoming increasingly controversial and general political support diminishing with the fall of the Balkenende IV cabinet in 2010. 


The researched cases feature both implemented road pricing policy measures and measures that were not implemented. Vonk Noordegraaf identified a total of 106 implementation factors, each of which influenced the implementation of a road pricing policy measure to a lesser or greater extent. Six factors were evident in each case: ‘general political support’, ‘general public support’, ‘the information campaign’, ‘various actor perceptions’, ‘the characteristics of the transport system’ and ‘the marketing of the measure’. She compared the 106 factors with the pricing policy factors in academic literature on transport policy implementation and created a checklist* of 30 factors that can be used during the implementation of road pricing policy.

Reconsider road pricing policy

It is important that the classic ‘linear’ approach to implementation is avoided. Diana Vonk Noordegraaf: ‘Pricing policy is too complex to be implemented in complete accordance with a plan. You need to remain flexible and be constantly aware of the various factors during the implementation process, because you cannot predict which factors will play a role and when in advance’. The implementation policy can be adjusted throughout the implementation process based on the monitored factors. Vonk Noordegraaf argues that a strict deadline for the implementation of a road pricing policy measure is unrealistic.

Even though implementation is complex, Vonk Noordegraaf believes that road pricing policy can certainly be reconsidered in order to tackle congestion and air pollution: ‘Various cases show that implementation is possible. When considering road pricing policy, it is important to not only consider a national system on all roads, such as with mileage rates. There is a whole range of road pricing options, and the government could begin with experimentation and trialling less complex measures’. 

More information

Doctoral dissertation defence of D. M. Vonk Noordegraaf: Road Pricing Policy Implementation
Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 09:30, Aula building, TU Delft
Promotor: Prof G. P. van Wee, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management
Contact: Diana Vonk Noordegraaf, +31 (0)6 2717 9694, 
Wendy Dallinga, Science Information Officer, +31 (0)6 4257 2041,


Vonk Noordegraaf is Senior Smart Mobility Consultant at TNO. This PhD research project was financed by TU Delft, Transumo and TNO.