ECMT study on transport pricing*

CE was asked by the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management to provide input for the international project ‘Reforming trans-port taxes (2003)’. The aim of this project, funded by the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) and the European Commission, is to improve understanding of the consequences of an ‘optimum’ transport pricing policy. In such a policy, users pay for the marginal infrastructure and other external costs they impose on society. To this end, the marginal costs of environmental damage, accidents and congestion were computed for road, rail and water transport in Great Britain, France, Germany, Finland and the Netherlands. The results show that:

  • a relatively slight decline in transport mobility leads to a major reduction in congestion,
  • public transport may be the winner in the urban context, but this will be more difficult in rural areas;
  • with respect to freight transport, the importance of road transport and inland shipping will decline, while the response of rail transport will depend very much on the degree to which infrastructure costs are passed on to operators;
  • tax revenues from the transport sector as a whole will increase, providing more than ample coverage of infrastructure costs.


More about