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Substituting a tramway to a bus line in Paris: Costs and benefits

  • Prud'homme, Rémy
  • Koning, Martin
  • Kopp, Pierre
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    In Paris, an old bus line on the Maréchaux Boulevards has been replaced by a modern tramway. Simultaneously, the road-space has been narrowed by about a third. A survey of 1000 users of the tramway shows that the tramway hardly generated any shift from private cars towards public transit mode. However, it did generate important intra-mode transfers: from bus and subway towards tramway, and from Maréchaux boulevards towards the Périphérique (the Paris ring road) for cars. The various benefits and costs of these changes are evaluated. The welfare gains made by public transport users are more than compensated by the time losses of the motorists, and in particular, by the additional cost of road congestion on the Périphérique. The same conclusion applies with regard to CO2 emissions: the reductions caused by the replacement of buses and the elimination of a few cars trips are less important than the increased pollution caused by the lengthening of the automobile trips and increased congestion on the ring road. Even if one ignores the initial investment of 350Â M[euro], the social impact of the project, as measured by its net present value is negative. This is especially true for suburbanites. The inhabitants (and electors) of Paris pocket the main part of the benefits while supporting a fraction of the costs.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Transport Policy.

    Volume (Year): 18 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 (August)
    Pages: 563-572

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:18:y:2011:i:4:p:563-572
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    1. Molly D. Castelazo & Thomas A. Garrett, 2004. "Light rail: boon or boondoggle?," The Regional Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 12-13.
    2. Moore, James E., 1993. "Ridership and cost on the Long Beach-Los Angeles Blue Line Train," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 139-152, April.
    3. Winston, Clifford & Maheshri, Vikram, 2007. "On the social desirability of urban rail transit systems," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 362-382, September.
    4. Armelius, Hanna & Hultkrantz, Lars, 2006. "The politico-economic link between public transport and road pricing: An ex-ante study of the Stockholm road-pricing trial," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 162-172, March.
    5. Cox, Tom & Houdmont, Jonathan & Griffiths, Amanda, 2006. "Rail passenger crowding, stress, health and safety in Britain," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 244-258, March.
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