National University of Singapore Department of Real Estate’s Xize Wang, ITS Berkeley Associate Director and UC Berkeley Department of City and Regional Planning Daniel A. Rodríguez, and World Resources Institute, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities’ Anjali Mahendrac recently published Support for market-based and command-and-control congestion relief policies in Latin American cities: Effects of mobility, environmental health, and city-level factors.
• Residents’ support for congestion pricing and driving restrictions was examined.
• Lower delay, car use and respiratory issues correlate with supporting both policies.
• A city having a higher PM2.5 and driving bans correlates with supporting both policies.
• A city’s higher income inequality correlates only with supporting restrictions.
• Difference in pricing vs restrictions support is largely due to city-level factors.
Public support for the implementation of congestion relief policies is critical for the policies’ technical and political success. To identify the personal, social, and city-level factors associated with higher acceptance towards such policies, this study uses a 2016 survey of 8178 residents from 11 cities across 10 Latin American countries collected by the Development Bank of Latin America (Corporación Andina de Fomento or CAF). We examined support for two demand-side approaches to managing the traffic congestion externality: congestion pricing – a market-based approach, and driving restrictions or bans – a command-and-control approach. Logit regression models show that personal mobility such as owning or using a private vehicle during a respondent’s main commute trip are associated with decreased support, while higher congestion delay in one’s commute and having a young child recently diagnosed with respiratory problems increases support for either congestion relief policy. In addition, residents of cities with higher levels of median annual particulate matter and with prior experience with traffic bans expressed higher support for either policy. Residents of cities with higher income inequality supported only driving restrictions; while those of cities with higher GDP per capita had lower support only for congestion pricing. To improve the public acceptance of congestion relief policies in Latin America, policy makers could: (1) explicitly seek to mitigate the costs it brings on individuals by investing in substitutes like public transportation; (2) promote the personal and social environmental and health benefits; (3) consider beginning with temporary, pilot programs; and in the case of driving restrictions, (4) take into account city-specific conditions related to income inequality that may influence public support for the policies.