Transport Infrastructure Investment and Demand Uncertainty
AbstractIn transportation planning there can be long lead times to adapt capacity. This paper addresses two questions. First, in a one mode world (say rail or road), what is the optimal capacity choice when faced with uncertain demand, long lead times and congestion. Using a simple analytical model it is shown that when demand is inelastic, it is socially optimal to invest more than if only the expected level of demand is taken into account. In this case it may be beneficial to overinvest in capacity because congestion costs are a convex function of relative use. This result holds with or without optimal tolling. The second question deals with two competing modes and where only one mode has long lead times for capacity while the other has flexible capacity. This is typical for the competition between High Speed Rail and air for the medium distance trips (500 to 1000 km), or for the competition between inland waterways and trucks for freight. We find that overinvestment is less justified because the substitute mode can more easily absorb the high demand outcomes.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën in its series Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers with number ces0809.
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision:
transport infrastructure; uncertainty; investments;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion
- R42 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government and Private Investment Analysis; Road Maintenance; Transportation Planning
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-03-25 (All new papers)
- NEP-GEO-2008-03-25 (Economic Geography)
- NEP-MIC-2008-03-25 (Microeconomics)
- NEP-URE-2008-03-25 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Karla Vander Weyden).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.