A socio-economic assessment of proposed road user charging schemes in Copenhagen

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

economics - pricing, policy - congestion


road pricing, cost-benefit analysis, congestion, transport externalities


Road pricing, congestion charging, toll-systems and other road charging instruments are intensively discussed in many countries. Although many partial analyses of the consequences have been published, few overall socio-economic analyses have been carried out. The article presents such a socio-economic analysis of four different proposed road pricing schemes for the Copenhagen area. The purpose was to assess all benefits and costs involved, including impacts on traffic and environment, maintenance and financing costs as well as tax distortion effects. It was concluded that the socio-economic surplus of the projects depends crucially on the congestion level. With the current traffic level, road pricing will not yet be socially expedient in Copenhagen. However, if the opening year is postponed to 2015, the two most favourable schemes will turn positive. The analyses also showed that the magnitude of demand response by introducing road pricing is likely to have significant impact on the project surplus. This is an important observation because most short-term driven traffic models will then underestimate the projected surplus. Finally, it was found that the degree to which benefits outweigh costs depends considerably on the use of revenue. Although it may contribute to decreasing road congestion, recycling all of the revenue back to the transport sector turned out to be inefficient and costly.


Permission to publish the abstract given by Elsevier. Copyright remains with Elsevier.


Transport Policy Home Page: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/0967070X