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Public transport congestion costs: The case of the Paris subway


  • Prud'homme, Rémy
  • Koning, Martin
  • Lenormand, Luc
  • Fehr, Anne


The paper argues that congestion in public transportation is alike the much more studied road congestion. It sets out to produce, on the case of the Paris subway, a congestion cost curve linking the willingness to pay for non-congested travel to actual congestion levels. Congestion costs appear high. What travelers would be ready to pay to avoid congestion in the Paris subway is on average about three times the amount of their out-of-pocket payments. An 8% increase in densities experienced over the 2002–2007 period implies a welfare loss of at least 75M€/year. Taking into account the subway congestion costs and the resulting externalities modifies significantly the optimal car-subway mix (from 8% to 24% according to a tentative computable model).

Suggested Citation

  • Prud'homme, Rémy & Koning, Martin & Lenormand, Luc & Fehr, Anne, 2012. "Public transport congestion costs: The case of the Paris subway," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 101-109.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:21:y:2012:i:c:p:101-109
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tranpol.2011.11.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mohring, Herbert, 1972. "Optimization and Scale Economies in Urban Bus Transportation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 591-604, September.
    2. Pierre Kopp & Rémy Prud'Homme, 2010. "The Economics of Urban Tolls: Lessons from the Stockholm Case," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00647669, HAL.
    3. 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.
    4. Kraus, Marvin, 1991. "Discomfort externalities and marginal cost transit fares," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 249-259, March.
    5. Pierre Kopp & Remy Prud'Homme, 2010. "The Economics Of Urban Tolls: Lessons From The Stockholm Case," Articles, International Journal of Transport Economics, vol. 37(2).
    6. repec:hal:journl:hal-00647669 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Theodore Tsekeris & Stefan Voß, 2009. "Design and evaluation of road pricing: state-of-the-art and methodological advances," Netnomics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 5-52, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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    Cited by:

    1. Kilani, Moez & Proost, Stef & van der Loo, Saskia, 2014. "Road pricing and public transport pricing reform in Paris: Complements or substitutes?," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 175-187.
    2. repec:eee:juecon:v:101:y:2017:i:c:p:106-122 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Hörcher, Daniel & Graham, Daniel J. & Anderson, Richard J., 2017. "Crowding cost estimation with large scale smart card and vehicle location data," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 105-125.
    4. de Palma, André & Lindsey, Robin & Monchambert, Guillaume, 2017. "The economics of crowding in rail transit," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 106-122.
    5. de Palma, André & Kilani, Moez & Proost, Stef, 2015. "Discomfort in mass transit and its implication for scheduling and pricing," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 1-18.
    6. Haywood, Luke & Koning, Martin, 2015. "The distribution of crowding costs in public transport: New evidence from Paris," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 182-201.
    7. Cats, Oded & West, Jens & Eliasson, Jonas, 2015. "Appraisal of increased public transport capacity: the case of a new metro line to Nacka, Sweden," Working papers in Transport Economics 2015:2, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
    8. Cats, Oded & West, Jens & Eliasson, Jonas, 2016. "A dynamic stochastic model for evaluating congestion and crowding effects in transit systems," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 43-57.
    9. Luke Haywood & Martin Koning, 2013. "Estimating Crowding Costs in Public Transport," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1293, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    10. André De Palma & Robin Lindsey & Guillaume Monchambert, 2015. "Optimal fares and capacity decisions for crowded public transport systems," Post-Print hal-01223169, HAL.


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