Anticipating new-highway impacts: Opportunities for welfare analysis and credit-based congestion pricing
Pricing of roadways opens doors for infrastructure financing, and congestion pricing seeks to address inefficiencies in roadway operations. This paper emphasizes the revenue-generation opportunities and welfare impacts of flat-tolling schemes, standard congestion pricing, and credit-based congestion pricing policies. While most roadway investment decisions focus on travel time savings for existing trips, this work turns to logsum differences (which quantify changes in consumer surplus) for nested logit specifications across two traveler types, two destinations, three modes and three times of day, in order to arrive at welfare- and revenue-maximizing solutions. This behavioral specification is quite flexible, and facilitates benefit-cost calculations (as well as equity analysis), as demonstrated in this paper. The various cases examined suggest significant opportunities for financing new roadway investment while addressing congestion and equity issues, with net gains for both traveler types. Application results illustrate how, even after roadway construction and maintenance costs are covered, receipts may remain to distribute to eligible travelers so that typical travelers can be made better off than if a new, non-tolled road had been constructed. Moreover, tolling both routes (new and old) results in substantially shorter payback periods (5 versus 20Â years) and higher welfare outcomes (in the case of welfare-maximizing tolls with credit distributions to all travelers). The tools and techniques highlighted here illustrate practical methods for identifying welfare-enhancing and cost-recovering investment opportunities, while recognizing multiple user classes and appropriate demand elasticity across times of day, destinations, modes and routes.
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Volume (Year): 45 (2011)
Issue (Month): 8 (October)
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