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A Model for Optimizing Electronic Toll Collection Systems

Listed author(s):
  • David Levinson


    (Nexus (Networks, Economics, and Urban Systems) Research Group, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota)

  • Elva Chang

This paper examines the deployment of electronic toll collection (ETC) and develops a model to maximize social welfare associated with a toll plaza. A payment choice model estimates the share of traffic using ETC as a function of delay, price, and a fixed cost of acquiring the in-vehicle transponder. Delay in turn depends on the relative number of ETC and Manual Collection Lanes. Price depends on the discount given to users of the ETC Lanes. The fixed cost of acquiring the transponder (not simply a monetary cost, but also the effort involved in signing up for the program) is a key factor in the model. Once a traveler acquires the transponder, the cost of choosing ETC in the future declines significantly. Welfare depends on the market share of ETC, and includes delay and gasoline consumption, toll collection costs, and social costs such as air pollution. This work examines the best combination of ETC Lanes and toll discount to maximize welfare. Too many ETC lanes cause excessive delay to non-equipped users. Too high a discount costs the highway agency revenue needed to operate the facility. The model is applied to California¹s Carquinez Bridge, and recommendations are made concerning the number of dedicated ETC lanes and the appropriate ETC discount.

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Paper provided by University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group in its series Working Papers with number 200306.

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Date of creation: 2003
Publication status: Published in Transportation Research part A 37(4) 293-314.
Handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:etc
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Dept. of Civil Engineering, 500 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone: +01 (612) 625-6354
Fax: +01 (612) 626-7750
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Small, K.A. & Kazimi, C., 1994. "On the Costs of Air Pollution from Motor Vehicules," Papers 94-95-3, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  2. David Levinson, 1997. "Job and Housing Tenure and the Journey to Work," Working Papers 199702, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  3. repec:ntj:journl:v:48:y:1995:i:no._2:p:217-28 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Gillen, David & Li, Jianling & Dahlgren, Joy & Chang, Elva, 1999. "Assessing the Benefits and Costs of ITS Projects: Volume 2 An Application to Electronic Toll Collection," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt1jv8j3zw, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
  5. Gillen, David & Li, Jianling & Dahlgren, Joy & Chang, Elva, 1999. "Assessing the Benefits and Costs of ITS Projects: Volume 1 Methodology," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt72j6121z, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
  6. Friedman, David A. & Waldfogel, Joel, 1995. "The Administrative and Compliance Cost of Manual Highway Toll Collection: Evidence From Massachusetts and New Jersey," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(2), pages 217-228, June.
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