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Carpooling and Congestion Pricing: HOV and HOT Lanes

  • Hideo Konishi

    ()

    (Boston College)

  • Se-il Mun

    (Kyoto University)

It is often argued in the US that HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes are wasteful and should be converted to HOT (high occupancy vehicles and toll lanes). In this paper, we construct a simple model of commuters using a highway with multiple lanes, in which commuters are heterogeneous in their carpool organization costs. We first look at the HOV lanes and investigate under what conditions introducing HOV lanes is socially beneficial. Then we examine whether converting HOV lanes to HOT lanes improves the efficiency of road use. It is shown that the result depends on functional form and parameter values. We also discuss the effect of alternative policies: simple congestion pricing without lane division; and congestion pricing with HOV lanes. The analysis using specific functional form is presented to explicitly obtain the conditions determining the rankings of HOV, HOT, and other policies based on aggregate social cost.

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Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 719.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published, Regional Science and Urban Economics 40, 173-186, 2010
Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:719
Contact details of provider: Postal: Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill MA 02467 USA
Phone: 617-552-3670
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Web page: http://fmwww.bc.edu/EC/Email:


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  1. Small, Kenneth & Yan, Jia, 2000. "The Value of "Value Pricing" of Roads: Second-Best Pricing and Product Differentiation," Discussion Papers dp-00-08, Resources For the Future.
  2. Small, Kenneth A., 1997. "Economics and urban transportation policy in the United States," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 671-691, November.
  3. Yang, Hai & Huang, Hai-Jun, 1999. "Carpooling and congestion pricing in a multilane highway with high-occupancy-vehicle lanes," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 139-155, February.
  4. Kenneth A. Small & Clifford Winston & Jia Yan, 2005. "Differentiated Road Pricing, Express Lanes and Carpools: Exploiting Heterogeneous Preferences in Policy Design," Working Papers 050616, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2006.
  5. Parry, Ian & Harrington, Winston & Nelson, Per-Kristian & Safirova, Elena & Mason, Dave & Gillingham, Kenneth, 2003. "Welfare and Distributional Effects of Road Pricing Schemes for Metropolitan Washington, DC," Discussion Papers dp-03-57, Resources For the Future.
  6. Dahlgren, Joy, 1998. "High occupancy vehicle lanes: Not always more effective than general purpose lanes," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 99-114, February.
  7. Houde, Sébastien & Safirova, Elena A. & Harrington, Winston, 2007. "Washington START Transportation Model," Discussion Papers dp-07-43, Resources For the Future.
  8. Reitman, David, 1991. "Endogenous Quality Differentiation in Congested Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(6), pages 621-47, December.
  9. Fielding, Gordon J. & Klein, Daniel B., 1993. "High Occupancy / Toll Lanes: Phasing in Congestion Pricing a Lane at a Time," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt2fv1c5p3, University of California Transportation Center.
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