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The Stability of Downtown Parking and Traffic Congestion

  • Richard J. Arnott
  • Eren Inci

In classical traffic flow theory, there are two velocities associated with a given level of traffic flow. Following Vickrey, economists have termed travel at the higher speed congested travel and at the lower speed hypercongested travel. Since the publication of Walters. classic paper, there has been an on-going debate concerning whether a steady-state hypercongested equilibrium can be stable. For a particular structural model of downtown traffic flow and parking, this paper demonstrates that a steady-state hypercongested equilibrium can be stable. Some other sensible models of traffic congestion conclude that steady-state hypercongested travel cannot be stable, and that queues develop to ration the demand in steady states. Thus, we interpret our result to imply that, when steady-state demand is so high that it cannot be rationed through congested travel, the trip price increase necessary to ration the demand may be generated either through the formation of steady-state queues or through hypercongested travel, and that which mechanism occurs depends on details of the traffic system.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2525.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2525
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  1. Henderson, J. Vernon, 1981. "The economics of staggered work hours," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 349-364, May.
  2. Arnott, Richard, 2006. "Spatial competition between parking garages and downtown parking policy," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 458-469, November.
  3. Verhoef, Erik Teodoor, 2002. "Inside the queue: hypercongestion and road pricing in a continuous time - continuous place model of traffic congestion," ERSA conference papers ersa02p068, European Regional Science Association.
  4. Richard Arnott & John Rowse, 1997. "Modeling Parking," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 350., Boston College Department of Economics.
  5. Richard Arnott & Eren Inci, 2005. "An Integrated Model of Downtown Parking and Traffic Congestion," NBER Working Papers 11118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Richard Arnott & John Rowse, 2007. "Downtown Parking in Auto City," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 665, Boston College Department of Economics.
  7. Small, K.A. & Gomez-Ibanez, J.A., 1996. "Urban Transportation," Papers 95-96-4, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  8. Verhoef, Erik T., 2005. "Speed-flow relations and cost functions for congested traffic: Theory and empirical analysis," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(7-9), pages 792-812.
  9. Vickrey, William S, 1969. "Congestion Theory and Transport Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 251-60, May.
  10. Erik Verhoef, 1997. "Time, Speeds, Flows and Densities in Static Models of Road Traffic Congestion and Congestion Pricing," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 97-070/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  11. Kenneth A. Small & Xuehao Chu, 2003. "Hypercongestion," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, London School of Economics and University of Bath, vol. 37(3), pages 319-352, September.
  12. Daganzo, Carlos F., 2002. "A behavioral theory of multi-lane traffic flow. Part II: Merges and the onset of congestion," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 159-169, February.
  13. Lo, Hong K. & Szeto, W.Y., 2005. "Road pricing modeling for hyper-congestion," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(7-9), pages 705-722.
  14. Verhoef, Erik T., 2001. "An Integrated Dynamic Model of Road Traffic Congestion Based on Simple Car-Following Theory: Exploring Hypercongestion," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 505-542, May.
  15. Geroliminis, Nikolas & Daganzo, Carlos F., 2008. "Existence of urban-scale macroscopic fundamental diagrams: Some experimental findings," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 759-770, November.
  16. Daganzo, C. F. & Cassidy, M. J. & Bertini, R. L., 1999. "Possible explanations of phase transitions in highway traffic," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 365-379, June.
  17. Chu Xuehao, 1995. "Endogenous Trip Scheduling: The Henderson Approach Reformulated and Compared with the Vickrey Approach," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 324-343, May.
  18. Dewees, Donald N, 1979. "Estimating the Time Costs of Highway Congestion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(6), pages 1499-1512, November.
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