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Departure Times in Y-Shaped Traffic Networks with Multiple Bottlenecks

  • Terry E. Daniel
  • Eyran J. Gisches
  • Amnon Rapoport

We study the departure time decisions of commuters traversing a traffic network with the goal of arriving at a common destination at a specified time. There are costs associated with arriving either too early or too late, and with delays experienced at bottlenecks. Our main hypothesis, based on the Nash equilibrium distribution of departure times, implies that, for certain parameter values, expanding the capacity of an upstream bottleneck can increase the total travel costs in the network. We report the results of a large-group laboratory experiment, which are strongly supportive of this counterintuitive hypothesis, and we discuss the implications. (JEL D85, R41)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 99 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 2149-76

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:5:p:2149-76
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.5.2149
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  1. Arnott, Richard & de Palma, Andre & Lindsey, Robin, 1990. "Economics of a bottleneck," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 111-130, January.
  2. 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.
  3. John Morgan & Henrik Orzen & Martin Sefton, 2007. "Network Architecture and Traffic Flows: Experiments on the Pigou-Knight-Downs and Braess Paradoxes," Discussion Papers 2007-05, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
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  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. 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.
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  8. Gabuthy Yannick & Neveu Matthieu & Denant-Boemont Laurent, 2006. "The Coordination Problem in a Structural Model of Peak-Period Congestion: An Experimental Study," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-26, June.
  9. Arnott, R. & De Palma, A. & Lindsey, R., 1992. "Properties of Dynamic Traffic Equilibrium Involving Bottlenecks, Including A Paradox and Metering," Papers 9201, Universite Libre de Bruxelles - C.E.M.E..
  10. Roth, Alvin E. & Erev, Ido, 1995. "Learning in extensive-form games: Experimental data and simple dynamic models in the intermediate term," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 164-212.
  11. Rapoport, Amnon & Kugler, Tamar & Dugar, Subhasish & Gisches, Eyran J., 2009. "Choice of routes in congested traffic networks: Experimental tests of the Braess Paradox," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 538-571, March.
  12. Selten, R. & Chmura, T. & Pitz, T. & Kube, S. & Schreckenberg, M., 2007. "Commuters route choice behaviour," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 394-406, February.
  13. Rapoport, Amnon & Mak, Vincent & Zwick, Rami, 2006. "Navigating congested networks with variable demand: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 648-666, October.
  14. Vickrey, William S, 1969. "Congestion Theory and Transport Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 251-60, May.
  15. Denant-Boèmont, L. & Petiot, R., 2003. "Information value and sequential decision-making in a transport setting: an experimental study," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 365-386, May.
  16. Erev, Ido & Roth, Alvin E, 1998. "Predicting How People Play Games: Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Games with Unique, Mixed Strategy Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 848-81, September.
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