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  • Small, Kenneth A.
  • Chu, Xuehao


The standard economic model for analyzing traffic congestion, due to A.A. Walters, incorporates a relationship between speed and traffic flow. Empirical measurements indicate a region, known as hypercongestion, in which speed increases with flow. We argue that this relationship is unsuitable as a supply curve for equilibrium analysis because hypercongestion occurs as a response to transient demand fluctuations. We then present tractable models for handling such fluctuations, both for a uniform expressway and for a dense street network such as in a central business district (CBD). For the CBD model, we consider both exogenous and endogenous time patterns for demand, and we make use of an empirical speed-density relationship for Dallas, Texas to characterize both congested and hypercongested conditions.

Suggested Citation

  • Small, Kenneth A. & Chu, Xuehao, 2000. "Hypercongestion," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt3nn3733q, University of California Transportation Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:uctcwp:qt3nn3733q

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    Other versions of this item:

    • Small, K.A. & Chu, X., 1997. "Hypercongestion," Papers 97-98-12, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.

    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Arnott, Richard & Inci, Eren, 2010. "The stability of downtown parking and traffic congestion," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 260-276, November.
    2. Ian W.H. Parry, 2009. "Pricing Urban Congestion," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 461-484, September.
    3. Richard Arnott, 1997. "Congestion Tolling and Urban Spatial Structure," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 389., Boston College Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    congestion; hypercongestion; externalities; peakload pricing; dynamic analysis; speed-flow curves; Social and Behavioral Sciences;

    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
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis


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