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Transport - More sustainable and secure transport systems
“To explore differentiated charging schemes in the transport sector, with emphasis on user reaction and real-world examples.”

The problem

One mechanism to increase the efficiency and sustainability of transport schemes is differentiated charging, in which the cost to the user is varied depending on factors, such as time of day, location, and route or transportation method used. The effectiveness of differentiated charging is determined by the reaction of users to these schemes. The user reaction involves issues of practicality, choice and psychology, and has not been adequately studied using real-world examples. Methods to analyse user reaction and a collection of real examples are urgently required.

DIFFERENT  Travelling at the right price, place and time


DIFFERENT will explore differentiated charging schemes in transport systems, with emphasis on real-world case studies and user reactions:

The project will:

  • Develop a scientifically sound approach for analysing differentiated charging schemes and their impact on user behaviour
  • Analyse and demonstrate the benefits and effectiveness of differentiated charging and taxation schemes
  • Provide policy recommendations both for general use and, in particular, for the Common European Transport Policy

Contribution to policy development:

  • DIFFERENT will provide data and methods to assist the Commission in its key policy area of European pricing reform.
  • It will supply the information required to tailor policies to improve the competitive position of geographically marginal regions and the newer Member States.
  • It will generate data relevant to the development of transport policies that tackle the problem of social exclusion for disadvantaged groups.

Project deliverables

  • Survey of current status of differentiated charging schemes and the theory of differentiated charging – October 2006
  • Reports on case studies in road, rail, air and shipping sectors – April 2007
  • Potential effects on differentiated user charges in intermodal chains and modal change – January 2008
  • User reactions and recommendations for differentiated charging schemes – February 2008
  • Psychological constraints of user reactions towards differentiated charging – March 2008
  • Economic theory and methodology on differentiated infrasctructure charging – April 2008
  • Final report – April 2008


  • Website, available for at least one year after project ends – from June 2006
  • Publications in technical journals and journals accessible to politicians and the public – as appropriate
  • Communications with the DIFFERENT Advisory Board – meetings at appropriate intervals
  • Participation in conferences by project partners – as opportunities arise
  • Direct exploitation of project results by partners in research and consultancy work – ongoing

Technical information

Project acronym: DIFFERENT
Project’s official full title: User Reaction and Efficient Differentiation of Charges and Tolls
Research priority: The development of tools, indicators and operational parameters for assessing sustainable transport and energy systems performance (economic, environmental and social)
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 019746
Start date: 1 May 2006
Kick off meeting: May 2006
Completion date: 31 April 2008
European Commission scientific officer: Istvan Ritz,

Name: Napier University, Transport Research Institute
Abbreviated name: TRi
Address: Sighthill Campus, Edinburgh, EH11 4BN
Country: United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 131 455 3200
Fax: +44 (0) 131 455 3201


Name: Universidad De Las Palmas De Gran Canaria
Abbreviated name: EIT
Country: Spain

Name: Stichting Economisch en Sociaal Instituut van de Vrije Universiteit
Abbreviated name: ESI-VU
Country: Netherlands

Name: Instytut Logistyki I Magazynowania
Abbreviated name: ILiM
Country: Poland

Name: University of Leeds
Abbreviated name: ITS
Country: UK

Name: Istituto di Studi per l'Integrazione dei Sistemi
Abbreviated name: ISIS
Country: Italy

Name: TRT Trasporti e Territorio
Abbreviated name: TRT
Country: Italy

Name: Technische Universität Dresden
Abbreviated name: TUD
Country: Germany

Name: Ecole nationale des ponts et chaussees
Abbreviated name: CERAS
Country: France

Name: Department "Idraulica Trasporti e Strade" - University of Rome "La Sapienza”
Abbreviated name: DITS
Country: Italy

Name: Ecoplan - Müller, Neuenschwander, Sommer, Suter, Walter; Economic Research and Policy Consultancy
Abbreviated name: Ecoplan
Country: Switzerland

Name: Stiftelsen for Industriell Teknisk Forskning ved Norges Tekniske Hogskole
Abbreviated name: SINTEF
Country: Norway

Name: Univerza v Mariboru, Fakulteta za Gradbenistvo
Abbreviated name: UM-TEMM
Country: Slovenia