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Effects of alternative road pricing systems on network performance


  • May, A. D.
  • Milne, D. S.


Four road pricing systems, with charges based on cordons crossed, distance travelled, time spent travelling and time spent in congestion, have been tested using the congested assignment network model SATURN and its elastic assignment demand response routine, SATEASY. All tests have been based on a SATURN application of the city of Cambridge, with charges imposed inside an appropriate ring of bypasses. While initial results showed that congestion pricing achieved the greatest increase in average speed in the charged area, later analysis cast doubt on its superiority. Congestion pricing is able to distinguish more effectively the extent to which different types of journey contribute to congestion and achieves given reductions in travel at lower levels of charge. However, it is much less effective in reducing distance travelled and, by encouraging use of minor roads, may achieve far smaller environmental benefits. Time-based pricing performs better than the other systems on most indicators. Generally, the results suggest that when rerouting effects are included in the predictive modelling process the benefits of road pricing may be significantly smaller than previously expected.

Suggested Citation

  • May, A. D. & Milne, D. S., 2000. "Effects of alternative road pricing systems on network performance," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 407-436, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:34:y:2000:i:6:p:407-436

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Scott, Susan, 1997. "The Environment," Book Chapters,in: Honohan, Patrick (ed.), EU Structural Funds in Ireland: A Mid-Term Evaluation of the CSF 1994-99 Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    2. May, A. D. & Roberts, M, 1995. "The design of integrated transport strategies," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 97-105, April.
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