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Preference heterogeneity and congestion pricing: The two route case revisited

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  • Koster, Paul
  • Verhoef, Erik
  • Shepherd, Simon
  • Watling, David

Abstract

This paper studies first-best and second-best congestion pricing in the presence of unobserved and observed preference heterogeneity using a stylised stochastic user equilibrium choice model. Travellers choose between multiple alternatives, have heterogeneous values of travel times, and may differ in their valuation of variety. We derive first-best and second-best tolls taking into account how the overall network demand responds to expected generalized prices, including tolls. For second-best pricing, we show that with homogeneous values of times the welfare losses of second-best pricing are smaller when route choice is probabilistic than when route choice is deterministic. Furthermore, we find that with heterogeneous values of times and benefits of variety, uniform second-best tolls and group-differentiated tolls can be very close, implying potentially low welfare losses from the inability to differentiate tolls. Finally, we show that there are cases where all groups benefit from second-best congestion pricing, but that these cases are likely to be politically unacceptable because tolls are then higher for low income groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Koster, Paul & Verhoef, Erik & Shepherd, Simon & Watling, David, 2018. "Preference heterogeneity and congestion pricing: The two route case revisited," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 117(PA), pages 137-157.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transb:v:117:y:2018:i:pa:p:137-157
    DOI: 10.1016/j.trb.2018.08.010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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