IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Comparing the Efficiency of Alternative Policies for Reducing Traffic Congestion

  • Parry, Ian


    (Resources for the Future)

This paper compares the efficiency of a single lane toll, a congestion tax applied uniformly across freeway lanes, a gasoline tax, and a transit fare subsidy at reducing traffic congestion. The model incorporates a variety of conditions required to reach an efficient outcome. These include conditions for the efficient allocation of travel among competing modes, travel at peak versus off-peak periods, and drivers with high and low time costs sorted onto faster and slower freeway lanes. Each policy violates some or all of the efficiency conditions. Under wide parameter scenarios, the single lane toll, gasoline tax, and transit subsidy forgo at least two thirds of the efficiency gains under an "ideal" congestion tax that varies across lanes. In contrast, the uniform congestion tax can achieve more than 90 percent of the efficiency gains, despite failing to separate out drivers with high and low time costs onto different freeway lanes.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-00-28.

in new window

Date of creation: 01 Jun 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-00-28
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Krupnick, Alan & Harrington, Winston & Alberini, Anna, 1998. "Overcoming Public Aversion to Congestion Pricing," Discussion Papers dp-98-27, Resources For the Future.
  2. Verhoef, E.T. & Small, K.A., 1999. "Product Differentiation on Roads Second-Best Congestion Pricing with Heterogeneity under Public and Private Ownership," Papers 99-00-01, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  3. Liu, Louie Nan & McDonald, John F., 1998. "Efficient Congestion Tolls in the Presence of Unpriced Congestion: A Peak and Off-Peak Simulation Model," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 352-366, November.
  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. Small, K.A. & Gomez-Ibanez, J.A., 1996. "Urban Transportation," Papers 95-96-4, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  6. Small, Kenneth A., 1983. "The incidence of congestion tolls on urban highways," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 90-111, January.
  7. Glaister, Stephen & Lewis, Davis, 1978. "An integrated fares policy for transport in London," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 341-355, June.
  8. Parry, Ian W H & Bento, Antonio, 2001. " Revenue Recycling and the Welfare Effects of Road Pricing," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(4), pages 645-71, December.
  9. Richard Arnott & Kenneth Small, 1993. "The Economics Of Traffic Congestion," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 256, Boston College Department of Economics.
  10. Mohring, Herbert, 1972. "Optimization and Scale Economies in Urban Bus Transportation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 591-604, September.
  11. Newbery, David M, 1990. "Pricing and Congestion: Economic Principles Relevant to Pricing Roads," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 22-38, Summer.
  12. Small, Kenneth A. & Gomez-Ilbanez, Jose A., 1998. "Road Pricing for Congestion Management: The Transition from Theory to Policy," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt8kk909p1, University of California Transportation Center.
  13. Parry, Ian W. H. & Bento, Antonio, 2002. "Estimating the Welfare Effect of Congestion Taxes: The Critical Importance of Other Distortions within the Transport System," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 339-365, March.
  14. Braid, Ralph M., 1996. "Peak-Load Pricing of a Transportation Route with an Unpriced Substitute," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 179-197, September.
  15. Balasko, Yves, 1997. "Pareto optima, welfare weights, and smooth equilibrium analysis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 473-503.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-00-28. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Webmaster)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.