The Government in a recent green paper set out the possibilities for the introduction of direct charging for the use of motorways. One of the methods envisaged for charging was an electronic system in which roadside equipment would register a toll charge automatically as a vehicle passed a point on the road network. This report describes a literature review and an interview survey aimed at exploring the potential problem of toll evasion. The literature review considered a considerable body of criminological literature in an attempt to identify the key factors likely to be involved in the act of toll evasion. A way of looking at the offence and offender known as the 'rational choice perspective' was regarded as the most appropriate framework for this purpose. The key factors identified were perceived opportunities for committing the offence, the likely benefits of offending, his or her motivation for offending in terms of needs and desires and the likely costs of offending. These factors are elaborated in discussing the relevant literature and considered in terms of the offence of toll evasion. The survey was an interview survey of 97 drivers selected at random from drivers sampled 'on local roads'. Drivers were asked about the level of the toll they would be prepared to pay and about how much trouble they would go to to avoid paying it. The issue of enforcement was then introduced and respondents asked again about their willingness to avoid payment in the face of different levels of enforcement and penalties. Reasons for evasion were elicited as were views about the seriousness of toll related offences. Because of the small sample size. the quantitative results from the survey cannot be regarded as definitive, although it has yielded some useful indicators of the driving public's attitude to toll evasion. (A) (This report is also included on the TRL CD-ROM entitled "Research on road user charging 1995-1998"). For the covering abstract see IRRD 491340.

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