This 2007 Wikipedia entry has been extracted as is from the Internet Archive Wayback Machine at http://archive.org/web. It is intended to serve as a baseline assessment, relative to the current WP entry of this date, and later to a planned 2020 entry.
To get a better feel for this from the perspective of day to day reality when it comes to trying to get wherever you want to go during morning rush hour in Tallinn, let’s have a look at a report by two Estonian researchers, – by Helen Poltimäe and Mari Jüssi, under the title . . .
Factors Affecting Choice of Travel Mode in Tallinn
The program for the recent Tallinn international conference contains useful information and contacts for researchers, planners, policy makers and others wishing to understand the variety of approaches, projects and perceptions which make up this fast-growing and highly varied field of interest for cities and their citizens around the world.
Source: WHO http://www.who.int/heli/economics/econinstruments/en/
Economic Instruments encompass a range of policy tools, from pollution taxes and marketable permits to deposit-refund systems and performance bonds. The common element of all economic instruments is that they effect change or influence behaviour through their impact on market signals.
Economic instruments are a means of considering “external costs,” i.e. costs to the public incurred during production, exchange or transport of various goods and services, so as to convey more accurate market signals. Those “external costs” may include natural resource depletion, environmental degradation, health impacts, social impacts, etc.
Economic instruments facilitate the implementation of Principle 16 of the Rio Declaration, commonly known as the “Polluter Pays Principle.” The article states: “National Authorities should endeavour to promote the internalisation of environmental costs and the use of economic instruments, taking into account the approach that the polluter, should in principle, bear the cost of pollution with due regard to the public interest and without distorting international trade and investment.”
William Spenser Vickrey, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics, is considered the father of Congestion Pricing. He first proposed it in 1952, for the New York City subway system, recommending that fares be increased in peak times and in high-traffic sections and be lowered in others. Elected officials considered it risky at the time, and the technology was not ready. Later, he made a similar proposal for road pricing.
This review was written in 1992 by Todd Litman, executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, to summarize some of the defining principles set out in Vickerey’s extensive path-breaking early extensive pathbreaking contributions which in many ways defined the field. This essay can be found in its original form in the website of the Institute at http://www.vtpi.org/vickrey.htm.
There are a good number of proponents around the world — politicians and activists for the most part — supporting the idea that public transport should be free. It certainly is a tempting idea on a number of grounds. And if we here at World Streets have our own thoughts on the subject (stay tuned), it is always good practice to check out both sides of the issues. to get the ball rolling, just below you will find four short statements taken from the Wikipedia entry, setting out arguments against FPT. More to follow on this but in the meantime we are interested in hearing from our readers and colleagues around the world both with (a) their comments on these criticisms and (b) yet other critical views. (This is sure to be a bit exciting.)
* Note: See numerous, extensive comments below.
Hello Eric, Thanks for forwarding the short reply by Lloyd Wright on Free Public Transit to the list. It made me think: Hmm possibly the comparison of Free Public Transit to public spaces that are generally open to use by the population free of charge is a strong, valid point. Beyond that here are some rough, somewhat wide-ranging and unstructured thoughts:
Like so many issues I feel that this one could benefit from a structured presentation perhaps in the form of a matrix or a similar arrangement to provide an overview of the most important issues, arguments and counter-arguments. (I am open for editing-collaboration for such an undertaking.) However, counterarguments and other considerations came flowing as I sat down to write.