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Lessons from travel planning and road user charging for policy-making: through imperfection to implementation

journal contribution
posted on 2009-03-18, 11:37 authored by Stephen Ison, Tom Rye
In 1978 Gunn published a seminal paper which explained why implementation of policy is so difficult. The paper set out 10 conditions, which should be satisfied if perfect implementation is to be achieved. Whilst it is clear that perfect implementation is not possible in the real world, and Gunn has subsequently been criticised for his ‘top-down’ approach to decision-making, these conditions do, nonetheless act as an effective framework through which to evaluate good practice in the implementation of urban transport policy instruments. Two urban transport policy instruments, which form an increasingly important element of the Government’s strategy in the UK for reducing the demand for private transport as set out in a New Deal for Transport (DETR, 1998), are travel plans and road user charging. Travel plans are a relatively recent policy instrument in the UK and seek to reduce trips to work by car by providing, through individual employers, a targeted, integrated package of incentives and disincentives to influence commuters’ choice of mode of travel to and from the workplace. Road user charging, whereby motorists are charged for the road space they use in urban areas, seeks to reduce the congestion problem via the price mechanism, and has a longer history in the UK. To date the implementation of travel plans in the UK has been more widespread than that of road user charging. It is fair to say, however, that the widespread implementation of both urban transport policy instruments is a complex and sensitive area for decision-makers. The aim of this paper is firstly, to analyse travel plans and road user charging in the UK with respect to the conditions for perfect implementation put forward by Gunn and secondly, to highlight the elements of good practice, pertinent to the implementation of road user charging, in the process of the implementation of travel plans. Overall, the paper uses Gunn’s theoretical framework as a basis for recommendations for better decision-making that will aid the wider implementation of both travel plans and road user charging internationally.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


ISON, S.G. and RYE, T., 2003. Lessons from travel planning and road user charging for policy-making: through imperfection to implementation. Transport Policy, 10(3), pp. 223-233


© Elsevier


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This article is Restricted Access. It was published in the journal Transport Policy [© Elsevier] and is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/0967070X




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