Policy Knowledge and Attitude: Can we Improve Policy Acceptance by Informing the Public?

TitlePolicy Knowledge and Attitude: Can we Improve Policy Acceptance by Informing the Public?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsLi M, Zhao J
Date Published08/2015
Keywordslicense plate auction, policy knowledge, Public acceptance, structural equation modeling, transport policy

Transportation Demand Management (TDM) strategies contribute to controlling traffic and long-term sustainability. However, low public acceptance of TDM is a major barrier to their implementation. However, among all the factors that have been hypothesized to influence public attitude towards transportation policy, few focuses on policy knowledge. Using Shanghai License Plate Auction (LPA) policy as an example, this paper measures the public’s received knowledge of the policy (i.e. awareness of the basic rules), people’s overall acceptance of and seven dimensions of attitudes towards the policy, and examines the relationship between public knowledge and public attitude. The results of structural equation modeling (SEM) show that public knowledge about LPA restriction is negatively related to almost all dimensions of attitude. The magnitude of knowledge relevance is even larger than those of all other socio-economic variables. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) shows that the relationships between knowledge and attitude vary among people with different attributes. While non-car owners and car owners with local license plates were observed to have an increase in acceptance level with higher knowledge level, car owners with non-local license plates demonstrate the reverse trend. There are two policy implications: 1) Shanghai policy makers need to explain more about the lenient aspects of LPA, making this restriction policy look more reasonable to the public; 2) Shanghai politicians should target different socio-economic groups with different promoting strategies.