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The interactin between tolls and capacity investment in serial and parallel transport networks


  • Bruno De Borger
  • Fay Dunkerley
  • Stef Proost


The purpose of this paper is to compare the interaction between pricing and capacity decisions on simple serial and parallel transport networks. When individual links of the network are operated by different regional or national authorities, toll and capacity competition is likely to result. Moreover, the problem is potentially complicated by the presence of both local and transit demand on each link of the network. We bring together and extend the recent literature on the topic and, using both theory and numerical simulation techniques, provide a careful comparison of toll and capacity interaction on serial and parallel network structures. First, we show that there is more tax exporting in serial transport corridors than on competing parallel road networks. Second, the inability to toll transit has quite dramatic negative welfare effects on parallel networks. On the contrary, in serial transport corridors it may actually be undesirable to allow the tolling of transit at all. Third, if the links are exclusively used by transit transport, toll and capacity decisions are independent in serial networks. This does not generally hold in the presence of local transport. Moreover, it contrasts with a parallel setting where regional authorities compete for transit; in that case, regional investment in capacity leads to lower Nash equilibrium tolls.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno De Borger & Fay Dunkerley & Stef Proost, 2006. "The interactin between tolls and capacity investment in serial and parallel transport networks," Working Papers Department of Economics ces0617, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces0617

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bassanini, Anna & Pouyet, Jerome, 2005. "Strategic choice of financing systems in regulated and interconnected industries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 233-259, February.
    2. De Borger, B. & Proost, S. & Van Dender, K., 2005. "Congestion and tax competition in a parallel network," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 2013-2040, November.
    3. Bruno De Borger & Kurt Van Dender, 2005. "Prices, capacities and service quality in a congestible Bertrand duopoly," ERSA conference papers ersa05p221, European Regional Science Association.
    4. Small, Kenneth A. & Yan, Jia, 2001. "The Value of "Value Pricing" of Roads: Second-Best Pricing and Product Differentiation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 310-336, March.
    5. repec:adr:anecst:y:1989:i:15-16 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. André De Palma & Luc Leruth, 1989. "Congestion and Game in Capacity: a Duopoly Analysis in the Presence of Network Externalities," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 15-16, pages 389-407.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mandell, Svante & Proost, Stef, 2016. "Why truck distance taxes are contagious and drive fuel taxes to the bottom," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 1-17.
    2. Proost, Stef & De Borger, Bruno & Koskenoja, Pia, 2007. "Chapter 3 Public finance aspects of transport charging and investments," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 59-80, January.
    3. van der Weijde, Adriaan Hendrik & Verhoef, Erik T. & van den Berg, Vincent A.C., 2013. "Competition in multi-modal transport networks: A dynamic approach," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 31-44.
    4. Westin, Jonas & Franklin, Joel P. & Proost, Stef & Basck, Pierre & Raux, Charles, 2016. "Achieving political acceptability for new transport infrastructure in congested urban regions," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 286-303.
    5. de Rus, Ginés & Socorro, M. Pilar, 2014. "Access pricing, infrastructure investment and intermodal competition," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 374-387.
    6. De Borger, Bruno & Proost, Stef, 2012. "Transport policy competition between governments: A selective survey of the literature," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 35-48.
    7. Bruno De Borger & Wilfried Pauwels, 2010. "A Nash bargaining solution to models of tax and investment competition: tolls and investment in serial transport corridors," Working Papers 2010/1, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    8. Grahn-Voorneveld, Sofia, 2011. "Sharing profit in parallel and serial transport networks," Working papers in Transport Economics 2011:7, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
    9. Proost, Stef & Dunkerley, Fay & Borger, Bruno De & Gühneman, Astrid & Koskenoja, Pia & Mackie, Peter & Loo, Saskia Van der, 2011. "When are subsidies to trans-European network projects justified?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 161-170, March.
    10. Friebel, Guido & Ivaldi, Marc & Pouyet, Jérôme, 2011. "Separation versus Integration in International Rail Markets: A Theoretical Investigation," TSE Working Papers 11-248, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Mar 2013.
    11. Robin Lindsey, 2010. "Reforming Road User Charges: A Research Challenge For Regional Science," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 471-492.
    12. Lei Zhang & David Levinson & Shanjiang Zhu, 2007. "Agent-Based Model of Price Competition and Product Differentiation on Congested Networks," Working Papers 200809, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.

    More about this item


    congestion pricing; transport investment; transit traffic;

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • 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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