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Road Pricing in Practice


  • David Levinson

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


The history of turnpikes from their first deployment in the 17th century through their decline in the 19th century, and some restoration in the 20th century is analyzed with a view to understanding the systematic causes of these changes. Key factors posited to explain both the rise and decline include the length of trips using the roads, the size of the governing jurisdiction, the degree of excludability, and the transactions costs of collection - which dictate the size and scope of the free rider problem associated with financing. This paper concludes with some discussion of what is required for turnpikes to become the preferred financing mechanism for highways.

Suggested Citation

  • David Levinson, 2001. "Road Pricing in Practice," Working Papers 199903, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:rpip

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    File Function: First version, 2007
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lo, H. & Hickman, M. & Walstad, M., 1996. "An Evaluation Taxonomy For Congestion Pricing," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt80g5s1km, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
    2. McCarthy Patrick & Tay Richard, 1993. "Economic Efficiency vs Traffic Restraint: A Note on Singapore's Area License Scheme," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 96-100, July.
    3. Fielding, Gordon J. & Klein, Daniel B., 1993. "How To Franchise Highways," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt79z9x6fs, University of California Transportation Center.
    4. Klein, Daniel B, 1990. "The Voluntary Provision of Public Goods? The Turnpike Companies of Early America," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(4), pages 788-812, October.
    5. Majewski, J. & Baer, C. & Klein, D., 1991. "Market and Community in Antebellum America: The Plank Roads of New York," Papers 90-91-25, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • R40 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - General
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • N70 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - General, International, or Comparative


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