Optimizing Road Capacity and Type
AbstractWe extend the traditional road investment model, with its focus on capacity and congestion as measures of capital and its utilization, to include free-flow speed as another dimension of capital. This has practical importance because one can view free-flow speed as a continuous proxy for road type (e.g. freeway, arterial, urban street). We derive conditions for optimal investment in capacity and free-flow speed, and analyze the optimal balance between the two. We then estimate cost functions for capital and user costs and apply the resulting model using parameters representing large US urban areas. We show that providing high free-flow speed may be quite expensive, and there is sometimes a tradeoff between it and capacity. We find suggestive evidence that representative freeways in most large urban areas provide too high a free-flow speed relative to capacity, thus making the case for reexamination of typical design practice.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 121309.
Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Capacity; Free-flow speed; Highway design; Optimal highway investment; Congestion;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- L91 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Transportation: General
- 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-2013-06-24 (All new papers)
- NEP-TRE-2013-06-24 (Transport Economics)
- NEP-URE-2013-06-24 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Chen Ng & Kenneth Small, 2012.
"Tradeoffs among free-flow speed, capacity, cost, and environmental footprint in highway design,"
Springer, vol. 39(6), pages 1259-1280, November.
- Chen Feng Ng & Kenneth Small, 2008. "Tradeoffs among Free-flow Speed, Capacity, Cost, and Environmental Footprint in Highway Design," Working Papers 080904, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
- Ng, Chen Feng & Small, Kenneth, 2011. "Tradeoffs among Free-flow Speed, Capacity, Cost, and Environmental Footprint in Highway Design," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt1nz5904j, University of California Transportation Center.
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- Kraus, Marvin, 1981. "Scale economies analysis for urban highway networks," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 1-22, January.
- Arnott, Richard & de Palma, Andre & Lindsey, Robin, 1990.
"Economics of a bottleneck,"
Journal of Urban Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 111-130, January.
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