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Hypercongestion in downtown metropolis

  • Fosgerau, Mogens
  • Small, Kenneth A.

Engineering studies demonstrate that traffic in dense downtown areas obeys a stable functional relationship between average speed and density, including a region of ‘hypercongestion’, where flow decreases with density. This situation can be described as queuing behind a bottleneck whose capacity declines when the queue is large. We combine such a variable-capacity bottleneck with Vickrey scheduling preferences for the special case, where there are only two possible levels of capacity. Solving the model leads to several new insights, including that the marginal cost of adding a traveler is especially sensitive to the lowest level of capacity reached. We analyze an optimal toll, a coarse toll, and metering, showing substantial benefits from using these policies to eliminate the period of reduced capacity. Under hypercongestion, all of these policies can be designed so that travelers gain even without considering any toll revenues.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 76 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 122-134

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Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:76:y:2013:i:c:p:122-134
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622905

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  1. Fosgerau, Mogens, 2011. "How a fast lane may replace a congestion toll," MPRA Paper 42271, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Laih, Chen-Hsiu, 1994. "Queueing at a bottleneck with single- and multi-step tolls," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 197-208, May.
  3. Geroliminis, Nikolas & Daganzo, Carlos F., 2008. "Existence of urban-scale macroscopic fundamental diagrams: Some experimental findings," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 759-770, November.
  4. Daganzo, Carlos F., 2007. "Urban gridlock: Macroscopic modeling and mitigation approaches," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 49-62, January.
  5. Shen, Wei & Zhang, H.M., 2010. "Pareto-improving ramp metering strategies for reducing congestion in the morning commute," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(9), pages 676-696, November.
  6. Small, Kenneth A, 1982. "The Scheduling of Consumer Activities: Work Trips," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 467-79, June.
  7. Chen-Hsiu Laih, 2004. "Effects of the optimal step toll scheme on equilibrium commuter behaviour," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(1), pages 59-81.
  8. Richard Arnott & Andre de Palma & Robin Lindsey, 1985. "Economics of a Bottleneck," Working Papers 636, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  9. 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.
  10. Henderson, J. Vernon, 1981. "The economics of staggered work hours," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 349-364, May.
  11. Nikolas Geroliminis & David Levinson, 2008. "Cordon pricing consistent with the physics of overcrowding," Working Papers 000038, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  12. Yang, Hai & Hai-Jun, Huang, 1997. "Analysis of the time-varying pricing of a bottleneck with elastic demand using optimal control theory," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 425-440, November.
  13. Vickrey, William S, 1969. "Congestion Theory and Transport Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 251-60, May.
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