Toll roads vs. Public transportation: A study on the acceptance of congestion-calming measures in Madrid

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, ridership - perceptions, ridership - demand, ridership - commuting, planning - service improvement, planning - travel demand management, policy - congestion, mode - bus, mode - car


Transport Demand Management Measures, Acceptance, Carpooling, Express Bus, Transfer, Toll Discounts


To relieve road congestion, a variety of transport demand management measures (TDM) have been implemented all over the world. The success of these measures has been found to depend at least partially on users’ perception about them. Several articles have jointly addressed the acceptability of public transport improvement (carrot policies) and road pricing (stick policies). However, these research works have not considered discounts on existing toll roads to relieve congestion on free alternative expressways. The objective of this paper is to study the combined acceptance of different congestion-calming policies at the suburban level, including the promotion of toll roads and measures to foster the use of transit. To that end, a survey was conducted among travelers on a commuting transport corridor in the region of Madrid aimed at exploring their perceptions towards four TDM measures, and a choice modeling framework was conducted. The scenarios considered are “carrot” policies, and the results of the analysis indicate that enhancing public transportation enjoys more support among respondents than toll promotions. Motorists using the free highway are more willing to use transit improvements than to opt for a toll road as an alternative regardless of the proposed toll discounts. Among the TDM measures explored, the least supported is the promotion of toll discounts associated with non-household carpooling. Furthermore, according to the results, the adoption of these TDM measures is more influenced by trip-related factors, in particular, the trip frequency and the mode of transport, than by socio-economic characteristics of the traveler. Finally, some geodemographic attributes of the residential location are also found to be statistically significant.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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