IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Railroad Costs and Competition: The Implications of Introducing Competition to Railroad Networks


  • John D. Bitzan


This study examines the cost implications of competition over existing US freight rail lines by testing for the condition of cost subadditivity. The study finds: (1) that there are economies associated with vertically integrated roadway maintenance and transport, suggesting that separating the two would result in increased resource costs; and (2) railroads are natural monopolies in providing transport services over their own network, suggesting that multiple-firm competition over such a network would result in increased resource costs. These findings suggest that policies introducing rail competition through "open access" or on bottleneck segments would not be beneficial from a cost perspective. Moreover, the price decreases necessary for the introduction of such competition to be beneficial would be large. © The London School of Economics and the University of Bath 2003

Suggested Citation

  • John D. Bitzan, 2003. "Railroad Costs and Competition: The Implications of Introducing Competition to Railroad Networks," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 37(2), pages 201-225, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpe:jtecpo:v:37:y:2003:i:2:p:201-225

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:;1-
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

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

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Verhoef, Erik T. & Rouwendal, Jan & Rietveld, Piet, 1999. "Congestion Caused by Speed Differences," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 533-556, May.
    2. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. José A. Gómez-Ibáñez, 2016. "Open Access to Infrastructure Networks: The Experience of Railroads," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 49(2), pages 311-345, September.
    2. Steffen Juranek, 2016. "Creating a National Champion: International Competition and Unbundling in Rail Transportation," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 50(1), pages 56-75, January.
    3. Waters II, William G., 2007. "Evolution of Railroad Economics," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 11-67, January.
    4. Laurino, Antonio & Ramella, Francesco & Beria, Paolo, 2015. "The economic regulation of railway networks: A worldwide survey," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 202-212.
    5. Finger, Matthias, 2014. "Governance of competition and performance in European railways: An analysis of five cases," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 278-288.
    6. Bitzan, John D. & Wilson, Wesley W., 2007. "A Hedonic Cost Function Approach to Estimating Railroad Costs," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 69-95, January.
    7. David Besanko & Shana Cui, 2016. "Railway restructuring and organizational choice: network quality and welfare impacts," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 164-206, October.
    8. Siew Hoon Lim & C.A. Knox Lovell, 2009. "Profit and productivity of US Class I railroads," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(7), pages 423-442.
    9. Wetzel, Heike & Growitsch, Christian, 2006. "Economies of Scope in European Railways: An Efficiency Analysis," IWH Discussion Papers 5/2006, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    10. repec:eee:transb:v:107:y:2018:i:c:p:167-191 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Bošković, Branislav & Bugarinović, Mirjana, 2015. "Why and how to manage the process of liberalization of a regional railway market: South-Eastern European case study," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 50-59.
    12. Nick Wills-Johnson, 2007. "Regulating Railways in Logistics Chains," Agenda - A Journal of Policy Analysis and Reform, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics, vol. 14(1), pages 51-68.
    13. Pittman, Russell, 2007. "Options for Restructuring the State-Owned Monopoly Railway," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 179-198, January.
    14. Pittman Russell, 2015. "Railways Restructuring and Ukrainian Economic Reform," Man and the Economy, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 87-107, June.
    15. Leonardo J. Basso & Sergio R. Jara-Díaz & William G. Waters, 2011. "Cost Functions for Transport Firms," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Transport Economics, chapter 12 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    16. Thomas Ehrmann & Karl-Hans Hartwig & Torsten Marner & Hendrik Schmale, 2009. "Specific Investments and Ownership Structures in Railways – An Experimental Analysis," Working Papers 12, Institute of Transport Economics, University of Muenster.
    17. Emmanuel, Bougna Tchofo & Crozet, Yves, 2014. "Beyond the “bundling vs unbundling” controversy: What is at stake for the French railway?," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 393-400.
    18. Fumitoshi Mizutani & Shuji Uranishi, 2013. "Does vertical separation reduce cost? An empirical analysis of the rail industry in European and East Asian OECD Countries," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 31-59, January.
    19. Fumitoshi Mizutani & Andrew Smith & Chris Nash & Shuji Uranishi, 2015. "Comparing the Costs of Vertical Separation, Integration, and Intermediate Organisational Structures in European and East Asian Railways," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 49(3), pages 496-515, July.
    20. Bougna, Emmanuel & Crozet, Yves, 2016. "Towards a liberalised European rail transport: Analysing and modelling the impact of competition on productive efficiency," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 358-367.
    21. Andersson, Mats, 2006. "Marginal railway infrastructure cost estimates in the presence of unobserved effects," Working Papers 2006:6, Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute (VTI).
    22. Andrade Furtado, Francisco Manuel Bastos, 2013. "U.S. and European Freight Railways: The Differences That Matter," Journal of the Transportation Research Forum, Transportation Research Forum, vol. 52(2).
    23. Merkert, Rico & Nash, Chris A., 2013. "Investigating European railway managers’ perception of transaction costs at the train operation/infrastructure interface," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 14-25.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    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:tpe:jtecpo:v:37:y:2003:i:2:p:201-225. 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: (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.