Nikitas, Alexandros (2010) Examining Older People's Attitudes to Road Charging. How Special are These and What is the Lesson to be Learnt? In: 42nd Annual Universities' Transport Study Group Conference, 4th - 6th January 2010, Plymouth, UK.

Public acceptability is possibly the ‘key factor’ for the introduction of road charging. Understanding any special attitudes of older people to the policy may inform attempts to enhance acceptability by identifying some of the potential social dilemmas of road charging. In an ageing society, where older people have a growing influence in politics in general, and potentially on the acceptability of road charging in particular, their attitudes to road charging are of interest because they face specific types of risk of transport-related social exclusion. Moreover, there is evidence to suggest that older people favour, more than any other age group, what is positively valued for society – a process known as ‘pro-social value orientation’. Hence in a transport context, older people may be more likely to express positive or negative attitudes to the acceptability of road charging depending on whether they believe it would be good or bad for others, or society in general. Family and friends may also affect older people’s considerations about their intentions and choices - thus the importance of studying the influence of ‘social norms’ on older people’s attitudes to road charging. The paper develops a theoretical and empirical understanding of these issues, based on a two-phase research scheme consisting of a quantitative survey and a series of focus groups that was conducted in Bristol a city that has been seriously discussing for a number of years the introduction of a road charging scheme. Robust evidence is provided for the view that the attitudes of older people towards road charging are different from those of younger people and that older people’s particular pro-social value orientations and social norms do affect these attitudes. People aged 60 to 74 are the people most likely to be negatively oriented to road charging while people aged 75 and over are the people more likely to be positively oriented to road charging than any other age group.

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