Project details

Full project title: Understanding the attitudes of older people to road pricing

Sponsor: Department for Transport and Bristol City Council

Research student: Alexandros Nikitas

Supervisory team: Dr Erel Avineri and Professor Graham Parkhurst

Start date: October 2006

Finish date: September 2009

Project briefing sheet: Download the briefing sheet document (PDF)

Project summary

In an ageing society, where older people have a growing influence in politics in general, and potentially in the acceptability of road pricing in particular, their attitudes are of particular interest because they face specific types of risk of transport-related social exclusion. Moreover, older people favour, more than other age groups, what is positively valued for society - a process termed 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 have a particular influence on older people's evaluations about their intentions and choices - thus the importance of studying the influence of 'social norms' on older people's attitudes to road pricing.

This research study has begun to develop a thorough theoretical and empirical understanding of these issues, drawing upon a survey of 491 post-back responses combined with secondary data analysis. This has led to the identification of age-specific differences of public attitudes to road pricing. All in all, some support is provided for the view that attitudes to road pricing do vary with age as pro-social value orientations, social norms and their influence on attitudes also do.

A second qualitative research phase is in progress. Focus groups will be used for the in-depth examination of the attitudes of older people (in contrast with those of younger people) to road pricing.