Nikitas, Alexandros, Avineri, Erel and Parkhurst, Graham (2009) How Different are the Attitudes of Older People to Road Pricing in Comparison with Those of Other Age Groups? In: 12th International Conference on Travel Behaviour Research, 13th - 18th December 2009, Jaipur, India.

Public acceptance is possibly the ‘key’ for the implementation of road pricing. 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 pricing. In an ageing society, where older people have a growing influence in politics in general, and potentially on the acceptability of road pricing in particular, their attitudes to road pricing 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 pricing 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 pricing. 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 pricing scheme. Robust evidence is provided for the view that the attitudes, pro-social value orientations and social norms of older people towards road pricing are different from those of younger people. People aged 60 to 74 are the people most likely to be negatively oriented to road pricing while people aged 75 and over are the people more likely to be positively oriented to road pricing than any other age group.

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