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Carpooling and congestion pricing: HOV and HOT lanes

  • Konishi, Hideo
  • Mun, Se-il

It is often argued in the US that HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes are wasteful and should be converted to HOT (high occupancy vehicles and toll lanes). In this paper, we construct a simple model of commuters using a highway with multiple lanes, in which commuters are heterogeneous in their carpool organization costs. We first look at the HOV lanes and investigate under what conditions introducing HOV lanes is socially beneficial. Then we examine whether converting HOV lanes to HOT lanes improves the efficiency of road use. It is shown that the result depends on functional form and parameter values. We also discuss the effect of alternative policies: simple congestion pricing without lane division; and congestion pricing with HOV lanes. The analysis using specific functional form is presented to explicitly obtain the conditions determining the rankings of HOV, HOT, and other policies based on aggregate social cost.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Regional Science and Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 40 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 173-186

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Handle: RePEc:eee:regeco:v:40:y:2010:i:4:p:173-186
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/regec

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  1. Small, Kenneth A., 1997. "Economics and Urban Transportation Policy in the United States," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt7mz1326k, University of California Transportation Center.
  2. Small, K.A. & Yan, J., 1999. "The Value of "Value Princing" of Roads: Second-Best Pricing and Product Differentiation," Papers 99-00-02, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  3. Yang, Hai & Huang, Hai-Jun, 1999. "Carpooling and congestion pricing in a multilane highway with high-occupancy-vehicle lanes," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 139-155, February.
  4. Parry, Ian & Harrington, Winston & Nelson, Per-Kristian & Safirova, Elena & Mason, Dave & Gillingham, Kenneth, 2003. "Welfare and Distributional Effects of Road Pricing Schemes for Metropolitan Washington, DC," Discussion Papers dp-03-57, Resources For the Future.
  5. Houde, Sébastien & Safirova, Elena A. & Harrington, Winston, 2007. "Washington START Transportation Model," Discussion Papers dp-07-43, Resources For the Future.
  6. Fielding, Gordon J. & Klein, Daniel B., 1993. "High Occupancy / Toll Lanes: Phasing in Congestion Pricing a Lane at a Time," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt2fv1c5p3, University of California Transportation Center.
  7. Kenneth A. Small & Clifford Winston & Jia Yan, 2005. "Differentiated Road Pricing, Express Lanes and Carpools: Exploiting Heterogeneous Preferences in Policy Design," Working Papers 050616, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2006.
  8. Dahlgren, Joy, 1998. "High occupancy vehicle lanes: Not always more effective than general purpose lanes," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 99-114, February.
  9. Reitman, David, 1991. "Endogenous Quality Differentiation in Congested Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(6), pages 621-47, December.
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