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The Hierarchy of Roads, the Locality of Traffic, and Governance

Author

Listed:
  • Shanjiang Zhu
  • David Levinson

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

Abstract

This study investigates the usage of road networks both within and outside of home jurisdictions (city (or town) and county of residence) by analyzing GPS data collected in the Minneapolis - Saint Paul metropolitan area, which tracked volunteers’ travel behavior to determine which roads (and thus which class of roads) users chose to accommodate their travel needs. More than half of the travel on county roads and city streets occur outside of one’s home city, but most travel is within one’s home county. The average share of travel distance in the home county is more than 70 percent for both county and city streets. The high share, which does not even account for non-residents destined for the county to work or shop, e.g., implies that the free rider problem on city and county streets at the county level is minimal. Of particular con- cern is travel on city roads in cities other than one’s own. To the extent that this is to go to a destination in that city, that travel is also local. However, because city and county roads are typically funded by those jurisdictions from land-based sources such as property taxes, through trips with neither end in the city through which they are traveling are in a very real sense "free riders", and pose a problem. With growing trip lengths and emerging economies of scale in road management, it may be appropriate to consider moving more roads from township, town, or city level to the county level of government.

Suggested Citation

  • Shanjiang Zhu & David Levinson, 2011. "The Hierarchy of Roads, the Locality of Traffic, and Governance," Working Papers 000097, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:locality
    as

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/11299/180022
    File Function: Second version, 2012
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
    2. Feng Xie & David Levinson, 2009. "Governance choice on a serial network," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 141(1), pages 189-212, October.
    3. David Levinson & Bhanu Yerra, 2002. "Highway Costs and the Efficient Mix of State and Local Funds," Working Papers 200205, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    4. David Levinson, 2005. "Paying for the Fixed Costs of Roads," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 39(3), pages 279-294, September.
    5. repec:kap:transp:v:44:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s11116-016-9684-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Shanjiang Zhu & David Levinson & Henry Liu, 2017. "Measuring winners and losers from the new I-35W Mississippi River Bridge," Transportation, Springer, vol. 44(5), pages 905-918, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Transportation financing; GPS; road utilization; hierarchy of roads; transportation governance;

    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
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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