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Distributional effects of road pricing: Assessment of nine scenarios for Paris


  • Bureau, Benjamin
  • Glachant, Matthieu


The starting point of this paper is to consider that there is no general answer to the question of the equity of urban road pricing. We therefore simulate and compare the distributional effects on commuters of nine toll scenarios for Paris, assuming that utility is nonlinear in income. We show that the distributional pattern across income groups depends crucially on the level of traffic reduction induced by tolling. Stringent tolls are more favourable to low-income motorists. Equity effects also vary with toll design. Compared to a reference scenario which uniformly charges all motorists driving within Paris, an inbound cordon toll is detrimental to low-incomes. Conversely, granting a rebate to low CO2 emission cars slightly improves their situation while an exemption for Paris residents is neutral. Surprisingly, it matters little for social equity whether toll revenues are allocated to all commuters or solely to public transport users.

Suggested Citation

  • Bureau, Benjamin & Glachant, Matthieu, 2008. "Distributional effects of road pricing: Assessment of nine scenarios for Paris," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 42(7), pages 994-1007, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:42:y:2008:i:7:p:994-1007

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Maruyama, Takuya & Sumalee, Agachai, 2007. "Efficiency and equity comparison of cordon- and area-based road pricing schemes using a trip-chain equilibrium model," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 41(7), pages 655-671, August.
    2. John K. Dagsvik & Anders Karlström, 2005. "Compensating Variation and Hicksian Choice Probabilities in Random Utility Models that are Nonlinear in Income," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 57-76.
    3. Jara-Díaz, Sergio R. & Videla, Jorge, 1989. "Detection of income effect in mode choice: Theory and application," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 393-400, December.
    4. Safirova, Elena & Gillingham, Kenneth & Parry, Ian & Nelson, Peter & Harrington, Winston & Mason, David, 2004. "8. Welfare And Distributional Effects Of Road Pricing Schemes For Metropolitan Washington Dc," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 179-206, January.
    5. Georgina Santos & Laurent Rojey, 2004. "Distributional impacts of road pricing: The truth behind the myth," Transportation, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 21-42, February.
    6. Eliasson, Jonas & Mattsson, Lars-Göran, 2006. "Equity effects of congestion pricing: Quantitative methodology and a case study for Stockholm," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 602-620, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kilani, Moez & Proost, Stef & van der Loo, Saskia, 2014. "Road pricing and public transport pricing reform in Paris: Complements or substitutes?," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 175-187.
    2. Georgina Santos & Erik Verhoef, 2011. "Road Congestion Pricing," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Transport Economics, chapter 23 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Condeço-Melhorado, Ana & Gutiérrez, Javier & García-Palomares, Juan Carlos, 2011. "Spatial impacts of road pricing: Accessibility, regional spillovers and territorial cohesion," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 185-203, March.
    4. Bert van Wee, 2011. "Transport and Ethics," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14281.
    5. Souche, Stéphanie & Raux, Charles & Croissant, Yves, 2012. "On the perceived justice of urban road pricing: An empirical study in Lyon," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 1124-1136.
    6. Wu, Di & Yin, Yafeng & Lawphongpanich, Siriphong & Yang, Hai, 2012. "Design of more equitable congestion pricing and tradable credit schemes for multimodal transportation networks," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 46(9), pages 1273-1287.
    7. Martin Koning, 2010. "The Social Cost of Road Congestion in Ile-de-France Region (and France): Empirical Evidences from the Paris Ring-Road," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00467888, HAL.
    8. Bureau, Benjamin & Glachant, Matthieu, 2011. "Distributional effects of public transport policies in the Paris Region," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 745-754, September.
    9. Bureau, Benjamin, 2011. "Distributional effects of a carbon tax on car fuels in France," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 121-130, January.
    10. Binder, Stefan & Macfarlane, Gregory S. & Garrow, Laurie A. & Bierlaire, Michel, 2014. "Associations among household characteristics, vehicle characteristics and emissions failures: An application of targeted marketing data," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 122-133.

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