Research Rest-Stop │ “Transport Pricing Reforms for Traffic Safety”

Every Wednesday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) highlights some interesting research related to or innovations in transportation, sustainability, or energy.

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A March 2012 report from the Victoria Transport Policy Institute examines the connection between traffic safety and transport pricing reforms, including “fuel tax increases, efficient road and parking pricing, distance-based insurance and registration fees, and public transit fare reductions.”

The report finds that “such reforms can significantly reduce traffic risk, in addition to providing other important economic, social and environmental benefits.” So, what does this really mean?

There are many factors that contribute to traffic risk. Transport pricing is one of the oft-overlooked factors. Transport pricing includes fees that are charged for vehicles and parking facilities, fuel, and vehicle insurance, among others. Supporting reforms in transport pricing can help to increase traffic safety.

Current traffic risk strategies often do not consider pricing as a way to improve traffic safety; they primarily “measure risk using distance-based indicators (such as fatalities per 100,000 vehicle-miles) and so [do] not recognize the safety benefits that result from policies which reduce total vehicle travel.”

New traffic risk strategies that focus on transport pricing reform can help to further traffic safety measures. Such pricing methods have the potential to support not only traffic safety but also objectives related to “congestion reduction, equitable road and parking facility finance, equitable and affordable vehicle insurance, energy conservation, pollution reduction, and more efficient land use patterns.”

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