IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/transa/v46y2012i10p1608-1622.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Step-tolling with price-sensitive demand: Why more steps in the toll make the consumer better off

Author

Listed:
  • van den Berg, Vincent A.C.

Abstract

Most dynamic models of congestion pricing use fully time-variant tolls. However, in practice, tolls are uniform over the day, or at most have just a few steps. Such uniform and step tolls have received surprisingly little attention from the literature. Moreover, most models that do study them assume that demand is insensitive to the price. This seems an empirically questionable assumption that, as this paper finds, strongly affects the implications of step tolling for the consumer. In the bottleneck model, first-best tolling has no effect on the generalised price, and thus consumer surplus remains the same as without tolling. Conversely, under price-sensitive demand, step tolling increases the price, making the consumer worse off. The more steps the toll has, the closer it approximates the first-best toll, thereby increasing the welfare gain and making consumers better off. This indicates the importance for real-world tolls to have as many steps as possible: this not only raises welfare, but may also increase the political acceptability of the scheme by making consumers better off.

Suggested Citation

  • van den Berg, Vincent A.C., 2012. "Step-tolling with price-sensitive demand: Why more steps in the toll make the consumer better off," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1608-1622.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:46:y:2012:i:10:p:1608-1622 DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2012.07.007
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965856412001188
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Yang, Hai & Hai-Jun, Huang, 1997. "Analysis of the time-varying pricing of a bottleneck with elastic demand using optimal control theory," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 425-440, November.
    2. van den Berg, Vincent & Verhoef, Erik T., 2011. "Winning or losing from dynamic bottleneck congestion pricing?: The distributional effects of road pricing with heterogeneity in values of time and schedule delay," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 983-992, August.
    3. Fosgerau, Mogens & Small, Kenneth A., 2013. "Hypercongestion in downtown metropolis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 122-134.
    4. Arnott, Richard & de Palma, Andre & Lindsey, Robin, 1990. "Economics of a bottleneck," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 111-130, January.
    5. AndrÊ de Palma & Robin Lindsey, 2000. "Private toll roads: Competition under various ownership regimes," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 34(1), pages 13-35.
    6. Braid, Ralph M., 1996. "Peak-Load Pricing of a Transportation Route with an Unpriced Substitute," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 179-197, September.
    7. Fosgerau, Mogens, 2011. "How a fast lane may replace a congestion toll," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 45(6), pages 845-851, July.
    8. 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.
    9. Börjesson, Maria & Kristoffersson, Ida, 2012. "Estimating welfare effects of congestion charges in real world settings," Working papers in Transport Economics 2012:13, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
    10. Robin Lindsey, C. & van den Berg, Vincent A.C. & Verhoef, Erik T., 2012. "Step tolling with bottleneck queuing congestion," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 46-59.
    11. Feng Xiao & Zhen Qian & H. Zhang, 2011. "The Morning Commute Problem with Coarse Toll and Nonidentical Commuters," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 343-369, June.
    12. Verhoef, Erik & Nijkamp, Peter & Rietveld, Piet, 1996. "Second-Best Congestion Pricing: The Case of an Untolled Alternative," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 279-302, November.
    13. Brons, Martijn & Nijkamp, Peter & Pels, Eric & Rietveld, Piet, 2008. "A meta-analysis of the price elasticity of gasoline demand. A SUR approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 2105-2122, September.
    14. de Palma, André & Kilani, Moez & Lindsey, Robin, 2005. "Congestion pricing on a road network: A study using the dynamic equilibrium simulator METROPOLIS," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(7-9), pages 588-611.
    15. Arnott, Richard & de Palma, Andre & Lindsey, Robin, 1993. "A Structural Model of Peak-Period Congestion: A Traffic Bottleneck with Elastic Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 161-179, March.
    16. Chen-Hsiu Laih, 2004. "Effects of the optimal step toll scheme on equilibrium commuter behaviour," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(1), pages 59-81.
    17. Odeck, James & Bråthen, Svein, 1997. "On public attitudes toward implementation of toll roads--the case of Oslo toll ring," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 73-83, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Odeck, James, 2017. "Government versus toll funding of road projects – A theoretical consideration with an ex-post evaluation of implemented toll projects," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 97-107.
    2. Knockaert, Jasper & Verhoef, Erik T. & Rouwendal, Jan, 2016. "Bottleneck congestion: Differentiating the coarse charge," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 59-73.
    3. Silva, Hugo E. & Verhoef, Erik T. & van den Berg, Vincent A.C., 2014. "Airlines’ strategic interactions and airport pricing in a dynamic bottleneck model of congestion," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 13-27.
    4. repec:eee:transb:v:101:y:2017:i:c:p:306-334 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. van den Berg, Vincent A.C., 2014. "Coarse tolling with heterogeneous preferences," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 1-23.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:46:y:2012:i:10:p:1608-1622. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/547/description#description .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.