Using environmental taxation for transport demand management

Potter, Stephen (2009). Using environmental taxation for transport demand management. In: Lye, Lin-Heng; Milne, Janet; Ashiabor, Hope; Deketelaere, Kurt and Kreiser, Larry eds. Critical Issues In Environmental Taxation: International and Comparative Perspectives, Volume VII. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 39–54.



Transport is a particularly problematic area for environmental policy. Good transport is a vital part of our economy and society, but transport activities have a range of negative environmental and other impacts. Direct physical effects include vehicle emissions, which have both a local impact on air quality but also global impacts in terms of CO and other climate change gasses. Other direct impacts include vehicle noise, land-take by roads, airports and railways, and the waste produced when vehicles are scrapped. But a distinctive feature of transport activities is that they also have ‘second-order’ system impacts. These relate to how societies and economies create and adapt to increasingly transport-intensive lifestyles. Such effects include changes in activity and settlement patterns which stimulate dispersed land-use patterns and high transport dependence. These second-order effects of transport developments can have long-term, entrenched, and often unanticipated social impacts. For example, health effects are not just traffic accidents or even traffic pollution contributing to respiratory illness, but poor health from an increasingly sedentary and obese society.

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