Getting the toll story about willingness-to-pay tolls
PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to examine drivers’ willingness-to-pay (WTP) tolls using data from a survey of drivers in the Hampton Roads region of Southeastern Virginia. The theory of planned behavior is applied to understand the different factors contributing to WTP tolls. The study measures different dimensions of WTP, offers a two-stage approach that aligns correlates of WTP tolls in logical sequence, and assesses the role of price information (toll rates) as an anchor heuristic in WTP.Design/methodology/approachThree WTP measures are elicited via contingent valuation method using three survey questions that incorporate different price information. The study tests the role of price information as an anchor heuristic. WTP is analyzed using a two-stage decision process. Drivers first decide whether, in-principle, to support tolls, followed by the amount they are willing to pay (maximum and peak amounts). Three regression models are run to test the impact of ability to pay on amount WTP, impact of in-principle WTP on maximum WTP, and impact of maximum WTP on peak WTP given an anchor toll rate.FindingsAttitudes supportive of tolls and the ability to pay are predictors of in-principle WTP, while in-principle WTP predicts amount (maximum and peak) WTP. Price information, as an anchor heuristic, reduces variability in amount WTP and conditions the amounts WTP.Originality/valueThe value and originality of this study lie in the application of the theory of planned behavior to study WTP tolls, the use of contingent valuation, and the effect of anchor heuristics.