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Comparison of judgmental and optimal road pricing cordons


  • Sumalee, Agachai
  • May, Tony
  • Shepherd, Simon


The performance of cordon pricing schemes is critically dependent on the location chosen for the cordon, and the toll imposed. Most cordon designs have been based on professional judgment, in the absence of guidance on the principles of efficient design. In this paper, a methodology based on Genetic Algorithms has been developed to identify the optimal location and toll level for one or more cordons, for a given objective function, with or without constraints on the design or required outcomes. To compare the performance of judgmental and optimal cordon designs, the method has been tested on a network of Edinburgh, with optimisation designed to achieve welfare maximisation with and without constraints on desired level of revenue and equity impact. The methodology is shown to generate appropriate solutions to all of these problems. The optimal single cordon achieves welfare benefits which are double those of the best judgmentally designed cordon. Constrained optima inevitably achieve lower benefits, but it is possible to design them so that this loss is minimised.

Suggested Citation

  • Sumalee, Agachai & May, Tony & Shepherd, Simon, 2005. "Comparison of judgmental and optimal road pricing cordons," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(5), pages 384-390, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:12:y:2005:i:5:p:384-390

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Langmyhr, Tore, 1997. "Managing equity : The case of road pricing," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 25-39, January.
    2. Verhoef, Erik T., 2002. "Second-best congestion pricing in general networks. Heuristic algorithms for finding second-best optimal toll levels and toll points," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 707-729, September.
    3. Hyman, Geoffrey & Mayhew, Les, 2002. "Optimizing the benefits of urban road user charging," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 189-207, July.
    4. May, A. D. & Liu, R. & Shepherd, S. P. & Sumalee, A., 2002. "The impact of cordon design on the performance of road pricing schemes," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 209-220, July.
    5. Mun, Se-il & Konishi, Ko-ji & Yoshikawa, Kazuhiro, 2003. "Optimal cordon pricing," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 21-38, July.
    6. Zhang, Xiaoning & Yang, Hai, 2004. "The optimal cordon-based network congestion pricing problem," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 517-537, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. André De Palma & Moez Kilani & Michel De Lara & Serge Piperno, 2011. "Cordon pricing in the Monocentric city model: Theory and application to Ile-de- France," Post-Print hal-00348437, HAL.
    2. Georgina Santos & Erik Verhoef, 2011. "Road Congestion Pricing," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Transport Economics, chapter 23 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. André De Palma & Moez Kilani & Michel De Lara & Serge Piperno, 2011. "Cordon pricing in the monocentric city: theory and application to Paris region," Recherches économiques de Louvain, De Boeck Université, vol. 77(2), pages 105-124.
    4. Stewart, Kathryn, 2007. "Tolling traffic links under stochastic assignment: Modelling the relationship between the number and price level of tolled links and optimal traffic flows," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 41(7), pages 644-654, August.
    5. Souche, Stéphanie & Mercier, Aurélie & Ovtracht, Nicolas, 2015. "Income and access inequalities of a cordon pricing," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 20-30.
    6. Agachai Sumalee & Simon Shepherd & Anthony May, 2009. "Road user charging design: dealing with multi-objectives and constraints," Transportation, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 167-186, March.
    7. Mogens Fosgerau & Kurt Van Dender, 2013. "Road pricing with complications," Transportation, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 479-503, May.
    8. repec:pal:jmarka:v:5:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1057_s41270-017-0025-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Hammar, Henrik & Jagers, Sverker C., 2007. "What is a fair CO2 tax increase? On fair emission reductions in the transport sector," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2-3), pages 377-387, March.
    10. Shepherd, Simon & Balijepalli, Chandra, 2015. "A game of two cities: A toll setting game with experimental results," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 95-109.
    11. Verhoef, Erik T. & Koh, Andrew & Shepherd, Simon, 2010. "Pricing, capacity and long-run cost functions for first-best and second-best network problems," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 44(7), pages 870-885, August.
    12. 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.

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