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The morning commute under flat toll and tactical waiting

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  • Xiao, Feng
  • Shen, Wei
  • Michael Zhang, H.
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    Abstract

    This paper studies the morning commute problem under “tactical waiting”, a phenomenon observable under situations when sudden drops in travel costs are present. Under such situations, travelers may find it advantageous to delay reaching the bottleneck by slowing down or waiting beside, even when there is still capacity left to serve them without delay. In this paper, we show that a flat toll during the morning commute potentially incurs tactical waiting under the assumptions of First-In-First-Out (FIFO) queue discipline and identical commuters, and derive all the possible equilibrium traffic patterns resulting from different choices of toll level and tolling period. Under the optimal toll pattern which minimizes the total system cost, we prove that there is no queue at the bottleneck at the starting or ending point of the tolling period and bottleneck capacity is fully utilized except during the period of tactical waiting. The optimal flat toll can reduce up to half of the queuing delay, but is in general not pareto-improving. However, if the revenue collected by the optimal flat toll is redistributed to the road users in the form of capacity expansion, the trip cost of each commuter will be reduced in the long-run. We also show that when building a new highway, the revenue from the optimal flat toll can never cover the capital cost of constructing the optimal capacity.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Transportation Research Part B: Methodological.

    Volume (Year): 46 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 10 ()
    Pages: 1346-1359

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:transb:v:46:y:2012:i:10:p:1346-1359

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    Related research

    Keywords: Bottleneck; Flat toll; Morning commute; Tactical waiting;

    References

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    1. Smith, M. J., 1983. "The existence and calculation of traffic equilibria," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 291-303, August.
    2. Levinson, David, 2005. "Micro-foundations of congestion and pricing: A game theory perspective," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(7-9), pages 691-704.
    3. Arnott, Richard & de Palma, Andre & Lindsey, Robin, 1990. "Economics of a bottleneck," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 111-130, January.
    4. Kuwahara, Masao & Akamatsu, Takashi, 1997. "Decomposition of the reactive dynamic assignments with queues for a many-to-many origin-destination pattern," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-10, February.
    5. R. Arnott & A. de Palma & R. Lindsey, 1997. "Information and time-of-usage decisions in the bottleneck model with stochastic capacity and demand," THEMA Working Papers 97-13, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
    6. Shen, Wei & Zhang, H.M., 2010. "Pareto-improving ramp metering strategies for reducing congestion in the morning commute," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(9), pages 676-696, November.
    7. Xi Zou & David Levinson, 2006. "A Multi-Agent Congestion and Pricing Model," Working Papers 200605, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    8. Richard Arnott, 1990. "A Temporal and Spatial Equilibrium Analysis of Commuter Parking," Discussion Papers 884, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    9. Feng Xiao & Zhen Qian & H. Zhang, 2011. "The Morning Commute Problem with Coarse Toll and Nonidentical Commuters," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 343-369, June.
    10. Otsubo, Hironori & Rapoport, Amnon, 2008. "Vickrey's model of traffic congestion discretized," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 42(10), pages 873-889, December.
    11. Zhang, Xiaoning & Yang, Hai & Huang, Hai-Jun & Zhang, H. Michael, 2005. "Integrated scheduling of daily work activities and morning-evening commutes with bottleneck congestion," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 41-60, January.
    12. Arnott, Richard & de Palma, Andre & Lindsey, Robin, 1993. "A Structural Model of Peak-Period Congestion: A Traffic Bottleneck with Elastic Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 161-79, March.
    13. Vickrey, William S, 1969. "Congestion Theory and Transport Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 251-60, May.
    14. Zhang, H.M. & Shen, Wei, 2010. "Access control policies without inside queues: Their properties and public policy implications," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 44(8-9), pages 1132-1147, September.
    15. Laih, Chen-Hsiu, 1994. "Queueing at a bottleneck with single- and multi-step tolls," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 197-208, May.
    16. Qian, Zhen (Sean) & Xiao, Feng (Evan) & Zhang, H.M., 2011. "The economics of parking provision for the morning commute," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 861-879, November.
    17. Chen-Hsiu Laih, 2004. "Effects of the optimal step toll scheme on equilibrium commuter behaviour," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(1), pages 59-81.
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    Cited by:
    1. Yang, Hai & Liu, Wei & Wang, Xiaolei & Zhang, Xiaoning, 2013. "On the morning commute problem with bottleneck congestion and parking space constraints," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 106-118.
    2. van den Berg, Vincent A.C., 2014. "Coarse tolling with heterogeneous preferences," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 1-23.
    3. Vincent A.C. van den Berg, 2013. "Coarse Tolling with Heterogeneous Preferences," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-120/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.

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