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Comparing the efficiency of alternative policies for reducing traffic congestion

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  • Parry, I. W. H.

Abstract

This paper compares the efficiency of a single lane toll, a congestion tax applied uniformly across freeway lanes, a gasoline tax, and a transit fare subsidy at reducing traffic congestion. The model incorporates a variety of conditions required to reach an efficient outcome. These include conditions for the efficient allocation of travel among competing modes, travel at peak versus off-peak periods, and drivers with high and low time costs sorted onto faster and slower freeway lanes. Each policy violates some or all of the efficiency conditions. Under wide parameter scenarios, the single lane toll, gasoline tax, and transit subsidy forgo at least two thirds of the efficiency gains under an "ideal" congestion tax that varies across lanes. In contrast, the uniform congestion tax can achieve more than 90 percent of the efficiency gains, despite failing to separate out drivers with high and low time costs onto different freeway lanes.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 85 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 333-362

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:85:y:2002:i:3:p:333-362

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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References

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  1. Parry, Ian & Bento, Antonio, 2000. "Estimating the Welfare Effect of Congestion Taxes: The Critical Importance of Other Distortions within the Transport System," Discussion Papers dp-00-51, Resources For the Future.
  2. Parry, Ian W.H. & Bento, Antonio Miguel R., 1999. "Revenue recycling and the welfare effects of road pricing," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2253, The World Bank.
  3. Erik T. Verhoef & Kenneth A. Small, 1999. "Product Differentiation on Roads: Second-Best Congestion Pricing with Heterogeneity under Public and Private Ownership," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 99-066/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  4. repec:dgr:uvatin:2099066 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Small, Kenneth & Yan, Jia, 2000. "The Value of "Value Pricing" of Roads: Second-Best Pricing and Product Differentiation," Discussion Papers dp-00-08, Resources For the Future.
  6. Harrington, Winston & Krupnick, Alan J. & Alberini, Anna, 2001. "Overcoming public aversion to congestion pricing," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 87-105, February.
  7. Small, Kenneth A. & Gomez-Ilbanez, Jose A., 1998. "Road Pricing for Congestion Management: The Transition from Theory to Policy," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt8kk909p1, University of California Transportation Center.
  8. Small, K.A. & Gomez-Ibanez, J.A., 1996. "Urban Transportation," Papers 95-96-4, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  9. Liu, Louie Nan & McDonald, John F., 1998. "Efficient Congestion Tolls in the Presence of Unpriced Congestion: A Peak and Off-Peak Simulation Model," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 352-366, November.
  10. Richard Arnott & Kenneth Small, 1993. "The Economics Of Traffic Congestion," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 256, Boston College Department of Economics.
  11. Mohring, Herbert, 1972. "Optimization and Scale Economies in Urban Bus Transportation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 591-604, September.
  12. Glaister, Stephen & Lewis, Davis, 1978. "An integrated fares policy for transport in London," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 341-355, June.
  13. Small, Kenneth A., 1983. "The incidence of congestion tolls on urban highways," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 90-111, January.
  14. Balasko, Yves, 1997. "Pareto optima, welfare weights, and smooth equilibrium analysis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 473-503.
  15. Newbery, David M, 1990. "Pricing and Congestion: Economic Principles Relevant to Pricing Roads," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 22-38, Summer.
  16. repec:dgr:uvatin:1999066 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Braid, Ralph M., 1996. "Peak-Load Pricing of a Transportation Route with an Unpriced Substitute," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 179-197, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Safirova, Elena A. & Houde, S├ębastien & Lipman, D. Abram & Harrington, Winston & Bagliano, Andrew D., 2006. "Congestion Pricing: Long-Term Economic and Land-Use Effects," Discussion Papers dp-06-37, Resources For the Future.
  2. Parry, Ian & Small, Kenneth, 2002. "Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?," Discussion Papers dp-02-12-, Resources For the Future.
  3. Paul Calcott & Shuntian Yao, 2005. "Competition between highway operators: can we expect toll differentiation?," Economic Growth centre Working Paper Series 0504, Nanyang Technolgical University, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Economic Growth centre.
  4. Quentin David & Renaud Foucart, 2012. "Modal choice and optimal congestion," CREA Discussion Paper Series 12-03, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
  5. Benjamin Edelman, 2009. "Priced and Unpriced Online Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 21-36, Summer.
  6. repec:dgr:uvatin:2013031 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Russo, Antonio, 2013. "Voting on road congestion policy," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 707-724.
  8. Edward Calthrop, 2001. "On Subsidising Auto-Commuting," CESifo Working Paper Series 566, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Parry, Ian & Harrington, Winston & Nelson, Per-Kristian & Safirova, Elena & Mason, Dave & Gillingham, Kenneth, 2003. "Welfare and Distributional Effects of Road Pricing Schemes for Metropolitan Washington, DC," Discussion Papers dp-03-57, Resources For the Future.
  10. Ian W.H. Parry, 2009. "Pricing Urban Congestion," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 461-484, 09.
  11. Russo, Antonio, 2010. "Voting on traffic congestion policy with two levels of government," MPRA Paper 24776, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. van den Berg, Vincent & Verhoef, Erik T., 2011. "Winning or losing from dynamic bottleneck congestion pricing?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 983-992.
  13. Daniel Albalate & Germa Bel, 2008. "Motorways, tolls and road safety.Evidence from European Panel Data," IREA Working Papers 200802, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Feb 2008.
  14. Daniel Albalate & Germa Bel, 2008. "Shaping urban traffic patterns through congestion charging: What factors drive success or failure?," IREA Working Papers 200801, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Jan 2008.
  15. Parry, Ian, 2001. "How Should Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Finance Its Transportation Deficit?," Discussion Papers dp-01-12, Resources For the Future.

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