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Private operators and time-of-day tolling on a congested road network

  • André de Palma

    ()

    (Université de Cergy-Pontoise (théma) and ENPC, Member of the Institut Universitaire de France)

  • Robin Lindsey

    ()

    (University of Alberta)

  • Fang Wu

    ()

    (University of Alberta)

Private-sector involvement in the construction and operation of roads is growing around the world and private toll roads are seen as a useful tool in the battle against congestion. Yet serious concerns remain about exercise of monopoly power if private operators can set tolls freely. A number of theoretical studies have investigated private toll-road pricing strategies, and compared them with first-best and second-best public tolls. But most of the analyses have employed simple road networks and/or used static models that do not capture the temporal dimension of congestion or describe the impacts of tolling schemes that vary by time of day. This paper takes a fresh look at private toll road pricing using METROPOLIS: a dynamic traffic simulator that treats endogenously choices of transport mode, departure time and route at the level of individual travellers. Simulations are performed for the peak-period morning commute on a stylized urban road network with jobs concentrated towards the centre of the city. Tolling scenarios are defined in terms of what is tolled (traffic lanes, whole links, or toll rings) and how tolls are varied over time. Three administration regimes are compared. The first two are the standard polar cases: social surplus maximization by a public-sector operator, and unconstrained profit maximization by a private-sector operator. The third regime entails varying tolls in steps to eliminate queuing on the tolled links. It is a form of third-best tolling that could be implemented either by a public operator or by the private sector under quality-of-service regulation. Amongst the results it is found that the no-queue tolling regime performs favourably compared to public step tolling, and invariably better than private tolling. Another provisional finding is that a private operator has less incentive than does a public operator to implement time-of-day congestion pricing.

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Paper provided by THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise in its series THEMA Working Papers with number 2007-02.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ema:worpap:2007-02
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  1. de Palma, Andre & Lindsey, Robin, 2002. "Private roads, competition, and incentives to adopt time-based congestion tolling," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 217-241, September.
  2. Xiao, Feng & Yang, Hai & Han, Deren, 2007. "Competition and efficiency of private toll roads," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 292-308, March.
  3. de Palma, André & Kilani, Moez & Lindsey, Robin, 2005. "Congestion pricing on a road network: A study using the dynamic equilibrium simulator METROPOLIS," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(7-9), pages 588-611.
  4. de Palma, André & Lindsey, Robin, 2006. "Modelling and evaluation of road pricing in Paris," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 115-126, March.
  5. AndrÊ de Palma & Robin Lindsey, 2000. "Private toll roads: Competition under various ownership regimes," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 13-35.
  6. A. de Palma & F. Marchal, 2001. "Real Cases Applications of the Fully Dynamic METROPOLIS Tool-Box: an Advocacy for Large-scale Mesoscopic Transportation Systems," THEMA Working Papers 2001-18, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  7. Yang, Hai & Meng, Qiang, 2000. "Highway pricing and capacity choice in a road network under a build-operate-transfer scheme," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 207-222, April.
  8. Erik T. Verhoef, 1998. "Second-Best Congestion Pricing in General Static Transportation Networks with Elastic Demand," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 98-086/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  9. Anna Matas & José-Luis Raymond, 2002. "The demand elasticity on tolled motorways," Working Papers wp0203, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
  10. Small, K.A. & Gomez-Ibanez, J.A., 1996. "Urban Transportation," Papers 95-96-4, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  11. Lei Zhang & David Levinson, 2005. "Road Pricing with Autonomous Links," Working Papers 200506, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  12. Erik T. Verhoef & Kenneth A. Small, 2004. "Product Differentiation on Roads," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, London School of Economics and University of Bath, vol. 38(1), pages 127-156, January.
  13. Yang, Hai & Zhang, Xiaoning & Meng, Qiang, 2004. "Modeling private highways in networks with entry-exit based toll charges," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 191-213, March.
  14. Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh & Roberto Roson, 2000. "Network markets and the structure of networks," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 197-211.
  15. de Palma, André & Lindsey, Robin & Quinet, Emile, 2004. "5. Time-Varying Road Pricing And Choice Of Toll Locations," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 107-131, January.
  16. S. Baranzoni & P. Bianchi & L. Lambertini, 2000. "Market Structure," Working Papers 368, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  17. Verhoef, Erik & Nijkamp, Peter & Rietveld, Piet, 1996. "Second-Best Congestion Pricing: The Case of an Untolled Alternative," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 279-302, November.
  18. Yang, Hai & Tang, Wilson H. & Man Cheung, Wing & Meng, Qiang, 2002. "Profitability and welfare gain of private toll roads in a network with heterogeneous users," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 537-554, July.
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