On interurban road pricing schemes and the impacts of traffic diversion on road safety in Germany: Empirical findings and implications
Recently, traffic diversion effects induced by tolling have increasingly been attracting attention, since interurban road charging schemes are becoming more widespread in Europe. However, less attention has been paid to unintended spillover effects concerning negative road safety outcomes, caused by traffic shifts to non-tolled adjacent secondary roads of inferior quality. This study introduces to the specifics of existing road pricing schemes in Europe, clarifies the characteristics of the German toll system and explores the relationship between toll implementation and road safety outcomes using regional German panel data for the period 2000-2010. To this end, we test different specifications using accident data, while controlling for transport-related and socioeconomic covariates. We find that the implementation of the heavy goods vehicle toll in 2005 has a negative impact on accident rates with damage to persons during our sample period. This finding is a valuable insight for policy makers, since the existence of a relationship between tolls, traffic diversion and road safety has important policy implications regarding the determination of optimal welfare-enhancing tolls.