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Optimal road tolls under conditions of queueing and congestion


  • Yan, Hai
  • Lam, William H. K.


Urban road networks in Hong Kong are highly congested, particularly during peak periods. Long vehicle queues at bottlenecks, such as the harbor tunnels, have become a daily occurrence. At present, tunnel tolls are charged in Hong Kong as one means to reduce traffic congestion. In general, flow pattern and queue length on a road network are highly dependent on traffic control and road pricing. An efficient control scheme must, therefore, take into account the effects of traffic control and road pricing on network flow. In this paper, we present a bi-level programming approach for determination of road toll pattern. The lower-level problem represents a queueing network equilibrium model that describes users' route choice behavior under conditions of both queueing and congestion. The upper-level problem is to determine road tolls to optimize a given system's performance while considering users' route choice behavior. Sensitivity analysis is also performed for the queueing network equilibrium problem to obtain the derivatives of equilibrium link flows with respect to link tolls. This derivative information is then applied to the evaluation of alternative road pricing policies and to the development of heuristic algorithms for the bi-level road pricing problem. The proposed model and algorithm are illustrated with numerical examples.

Suggested Citation

  • Yan, Hai & Lam, William H. K., 1996. "Optimal road tolls under conditions of queueing and congestion," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 319-332, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:30:y:1996:i:5:p:319-332

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yang, Hai & Yagar, Sam & Iida, Yasunori & Asakura, Yasuo, 1994. "An algorithm for the inflow control problem on urban freeway networks with user-optimal flows," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 123-139, April.
    2. Arnott, R. & de Palma, A. & Lindsey, R., 1990. "Departure time and route choice for the morning commute," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 209-228, June.
    3. Yang, Hai & Yagar, Sam, 1995. "Traffic assignment and signal control in saturated road networks," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 125-139, March.
    4. Smith, M. J., 1979. "The marginal cost taxation of a transportation network," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 237-242, September.
    5. 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.
    6. Yang, Hai & Yagar, Sam, 1994. "Traffic assignment and traffic control in general freeway-arterial corridor systems," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 463-486, December.
    7. Yang, Hai, 1995. "Heuristic algorithms for the bilevel origin-destination matrix estimation problem," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 231-242, August.
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