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Measuring Marginal Congestion Costs of Urban Transportation: Do Networks Matter?

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  • Safirova, Elena
  • Gillingham, Kenneth

Abstract

In determining the marginal cost of congestion, economists have traditionally relied upon directly measuring traffic congestion on network links, disregarding any "network effects," since the latter are difficult to estimate. While for simple networks the comparison can be done within a theoretical framework, it is important to know whether such network effects in real large-scale networks are quantitatively significant. In this paper we use a strategic transportation planning model (START) to compare marginal congestion costs computed link-by-link with measures taking into account network effects. We find that while in aggregate network effects are not significant, congestion measured on a single link is a poor predictor of total congestion costs imposed by travel on that link. Also, we analyze the congestion proliferation effect on the network to see how congestion is distributed within an urban area.

Suggested Citation

  • Safirova, Elena & Gillingham, Kenneth, 2003. "Measuring Marginal Congestion Costs of Urban Transportation: Do Networks Matter?," Discussion Papers 10675, Resources for the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:rffdps:10675
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.10675
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    Cited by:

    1. Yossi Berechman & Bekir Bartin & Ozlem Yanmaz-Tuzel & Kaan Ozbay, 2011. "The Full Marginal Costs of Highway Travel: Methods and Empirical Estimation for North America," Chapters, in: André de Palma & Robin Lindsey & Emile Quinet & Roger Vickerman (ed.), A Handbook of Transport Economics, chapter 19, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Ian W.H. Parry, 2009. "Pricing Urban Congestion," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 461-484, September.
    3. Bilbao-Ubillos, Javier, 2008. "The costs of urban congestion: Estimation of welfare losses arising from congestion on cross-town link roads," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 42(8), pages 1098-1108, October.
    4. Lei Zhang & David Levinson, 2006. "Economics of Road Network Ownership," Working Papers 200908, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    5. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:3:p:265:d:65622 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Light, Thomas, 2012. "High Occupancy Toll Lane Performance Under Alternative Pricing Policies," Journal of the Transportation Research Forum, Transportation Research Forum, vol. 51(2).
    7. Nelson, Per-Kristian, 2004. "Emissions Trading with Telecommuting Credits: Regulatory Background and Institutional Barriers," Discussion Papers dp-04-45, Resources For the Future.
    8. Rouhani, Omid M. & Niemeier, Debbie, 2014. "Flat versus spatially variable tolling: A case study in Fresno, California," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 10-18.
    9. M. Rouhani, Omid, 2014. "Road pricing: An overview," MPRA Paper 59662, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Safirova, Elena A. & Houde, Sébastien & Lipman, D. Abram & Harrington, Winston & Bagliano, Andrew D., 2006. "Congestion Pricing: Long-Term Economic and Land-Use Effects," Discussion Papers dp-06-37, Resources For the Future.
    11. Omid M. Rouhani, 2016. "Next Generations of Road Pricing: Social Welfare Enhancing," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 8(3), pages 1-15, March.
    12. Harrington, Winston & Safirova, Elena & Coleman, Conrad & Houde, Sebastien & Finkel, Adam M., 2014. "Distributional Consequences of Public Policies: An Example from the Management of Urban Vehicular Travel Abstract: This paper uses a spatially disaggregated computable general equilibrium model of a l," Discussion Papers dp-14-04, Resources For the Future.
    13. Rotaris, Lucia & Danielis, Romeo & Marcucci, Edoardo & Massiani, Jérôme, 2010. "The urban road pricing scheme to curb pollution in Milan, Italy: Description, impacts and preliminary cost-benefit analysis assessment," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(5), pages 359-375, June.
    14. Margaret Walls & Peter Nelson & Elena Safirova, 2005. "Telecommuting and environmental policy - lessons from the Ecommute program," ERSA conference papers ersa05p801, European Regional Science Association.
    15. Safirova, Elena A. & Houde, Sébastien & Harrington, Winston, 2008. "Marginal Social Cost Pricing on a Transportation Network: Comparison of Second-Best Policies," Discussion Papers dp-07-52, Resources For the Future.
    16. Houde, Sébastien & Safirova, Elena A. & Harrington, Winston, 2007. "Washington START Transportation Model," Discussion Papers dp-07-43, Resources For the Future.
    17. Nelson, Peter, 2004. "Emissions Trading with Telecommuting Credits: Regulatory Background and Institutional Barriers," Discussion Papers 10884, Resources for the Future.
    18. André de Palma & Shaghayegh Vosough & Robin Lindsey, 2020. "Pricing vehicle emissions and congestion using a dynamic traffic network simulator," THEMA Working Papers 2020-09, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
    19. Safirova, Elena A. & Houde, Sébastien & Harrington, Winston, 2007. "Spatial Development and Energy Consumption," Discussion Papers dp-07-51, Resources For the Future.
    20. Wesley E. Marshall & Eric Dumbaugh, 2020. "Revisiting the relationship between traffic congestion and the economy: a longitudinal examination of U.S. metropolitan areas," Transportation, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 275-314, February.
    21. M. Rouhani, Omid, 2015. "Impact of Value of Time (VOT) on toll roads," MPRA Paper 65087, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    Keywords

    Public Economics;

    JEL classification:

    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy

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