IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aecrev/v104y2014i9p2763-96.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Subways, Strikes, and Slowdowns: The Impacts of Public Transit on Traffic Congestion

Author

Listed:
  • Michael L. Anderson

Abstract

Public transit accounts for 1 percent of U.S. passenger miles traveled but attracts strong public support. Using a simple choice model, we predict that transit riders are likely to be individuals who commute along routes with severe roadway delays. These individuals' choices thus have high marginal impacts on congestion. We test this prediction with data from a strike in 2003 by Los Angeles transit workers. Estimating a regression discontinuity design, we find that average highway delay increases 47 percent when transit service ceases. We find that the net benefits of transit systems appear to be much larger than previously believed.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael L. Anderson, 2014. "Subways, Strikes, and Slowdowns: The Impacts of Public Transit on Traffic Congestion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(9), pages 2763-2796, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:104:y:2014:i:9:p:2763-96
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.9.2763
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.104.9.2763
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/app/10409/20130116_app.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/10409/20130116_data.zip
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/ds/10409/20130116_ds.zip
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Gilles Duranton & Laurent Gobillon & Sébastien Roux, 2010. "Estimating Agglomeration Economies with History, Geology, and Worker Effects," NBER Chapters, in: Agglomeration Economics, pages 15-66, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Lucas W. Davis, 2008. "The Effect of Driving Restrictions on Air Quality in Mexico City," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(1), pages 38-81, February.
    3. Stopher, Peter R., 2004. "Reducing road congestion: a reality check," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 117-131, April.
    4. Maximilian Auffhammer & Ryan Kellogg, 2011. "Clearing the Air? The Effects of Gasoline Content Regulation on Air Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2687-2722, October.
    5. Nelson, Peter & Baglino, Andrew & Harrington, Winston & Safirova, Elena & Lipman, Abram, 2007. "Transit in Washington, DC: Current benefits and optimal level of provision," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 231-251, September.
    6. Willson, Richard W. & Shoup, Donald C., 1990. "Parking Subsidies and Travel Choices: Assessing the Evidence," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt3256f490, University of California Transportation Center.
    7. Winston, Clifford & Maheshri, Vikram, 2007. "On the social desirability of urban rail transit systems," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 362-382, September.
    8. Graham, Daniel J., 2007. "Variable returns to agglomeration and the effect of road traffic congestion," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 103-120, July.
    9. Wilson, Richard W. & Shoup, Donald C., 1990. "Parking Subsidies and Travel Choices: Assessing the Evidence," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt5w24532x, University of California Transportation Center.
    10. Taylor, Brian D., 2004. "The politics of congestion mitigation," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 299-302, July.
    11. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
    12. Yihsu Chen & Alexander Whalley, 2012. "Green Infrastructure: The Effects of Urban Rail Transit on Air Quality," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 58-97, February.
    13. Kenneth A. Small & Kurt Van Dender, 2007. "Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 25-52.
    14. Winston, Clifford & Langer, Ashley, 2006. "The effect of government highway spending on road users' congestion costs," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 463-483, November.
    15. Christopher R. Knittel & Ryan Sandler, 2011. "Cleaning the Bathwater with the Baby: The Health Co-Benefits of Carbon Pricing in Transportation," NBER Working Papers 17390, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Gilles Duranton & Matthew A. Turner, 2011. "The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2616-2652, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Beaudoin, Justin & Lin Lawell, C.-Y. Cynthia, 2018. "The effects of public transit supply on the demand for automobile travel," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 447-467.
    2. Beaudoin, Justin & Farzin, Y. Hossein & Lin Lawell, C.-Y. Cynthia, 2015. "Public transit investment and sustainable transportation: A review of studies of transit's impact on traffic congestion and air quality," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 15-22.
    3. Proost, Stef & Van Dender, Kurt, 2012. "Energy and environment challenges in the transport sector," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 77-87.
    4. Viard, V. Brian & Fu, Shihe, 2015. "The effect of Beijing's driving restrictions on pollution and economic activity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 98-115.
    5. Yizhen Gu & Chang Jiang & Junfu Zhang & Ben Zou, 2021. "Subways and Road Congestion," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 83-115, April.
    6. Adler, Martin W. & van Ommeren, Jos N., 2016. "Does public transit reduce car travel externalities? Quasi-natural experiments' evidence from transit strikes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 106-119.
    7. Hamilton, Timothy L. & Wichman, Casey J., 2018. "Bicycle infrastructure and traffic congestion: Evidence from DC's Capital Bikeshare," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 72-93.
    8. Yang, Jun & Chen, Shuai & Qin, Ping & Lu, Fangwen & Liu, Antung A., 2018. "The effect of subway expansions on vehicle congestion: Evidence from Beijing," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 114-133.
    9. Deepti Goel & Sonam Gupta, 2017. "The Effect of Metro Expansions on Air Pollution in Delhi," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 31(1), pages 271-294.
    10. Léa Bou Sleiman, 2021. "Are car-free centers detrimental to the periphery? Evidence from the pedestrianization of the Parisian riverbank," Working Papers 2021-03, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    11. Daniel Albalate & Xavier Fageda, 2019. "Congestion, Road Safety, and the Effectiveness of Public Policies in Urban Areas," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(18), pages 1-21, September.
    12. Claudia N. Berg & Uwe Deichmann & Yishen Liu & Harris Selod, 2017. "Transport Policies and Development," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(4), pages 465-480, April.
    13. Luechinger, Simon & Roth, Florian, 2016. "Effects of a mileage tax for trucks," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 1-15.
    14. Stefan Bauernschuster & Timo Hener & Helmut Rainer, 2015. "When Labor Disputes Bring Cities to a Standstill: The Impact of Public Transit Strikes on Traffic, Accidents, Air Pollution, and Health," CESifo Working Paper Series 5313, CESifo.
    15. Li, Shanjun & Liu, Yanyan & Purevjav, Avralt-Od & Yang, Lin, 2019. "Does subway expansion improve air quality?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 213-235.
    16. Folgerø, Ingrid Kristine & Harding, Torfinn & Westby, Benjamin, 2017. "Going Fast or Going Green? Evidence from Environmental Speed Limits in Norway," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 12/2017, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    17. Catherine Hausman & David S. Rapson, 2018. "Regression Discontinuity in Time: Considerations for Empirical Applications," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 10(1), pages 533-552, October.
    18. Zhang, Wei & Lin Lawell, C.-Y. Cynthia & Umanskaya, Victoria I., 2017. "The effects of license plate-based driving restrictions on air quality: Theory and empirical evidence," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 181-220.
    19. Zhu, Junming & Wang, Jiali, 2021. "The effects of fuel content regulation at ports on regional pollution and shipping industry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 106(C).
    20. Stefan Bauernschuster & Timo Hener & Helmut Rainer, 2017. "When Labor Disputes Bring Cities to a Standstill: The Impact of Public Transit Strikes on Traffic, Accidents, Air Pollution, and Health," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 1-37, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H76 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Other Expenditure Categories
    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
    • L92 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Railroads and Other Surface Transportation
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:104:y:2014:i:9:p:2763-96. See general 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.