Trends in income and price elasticities of transport demand (1850–2010)
The purpose of this paper is to estimate trends in income and price elasticities and to offer insights for the future growth in transport use, with particular emphasis on the impact of energy and technological transitions. The results indicate that income and price elasticities of passenger transport demand in the United Kingdom were very large (3.1 and −1.5, respectively) in the mid-nineteenth century, and declined since then. In 2010, long run income and price elasticity of aggregate land transport demand were estimated to be 0.8 and −0.6. These trends suggest that future elasticities related to transport demand in developed economies may decline very gradually and, in developing economies, where elasticities are often larger, they will probably decline more rapidly as the economies develop. Because of the declining trends in elasticities, future energy and technological transitions are not likely to generate the growth rates in energy consumption that occurred following transitions in the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, energy and technological transitions, such as the car and the airplane, appear to have delayed and probably will delay declining trends in income and price elasticity of aggregate transport demand.
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