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Welfare and Distributional Effects of Road Pricing Schemes for Metropolitan Washington, DC

  • Parry, Ian

    ()

    (Resources for the Future)

  • Harrington, Winston

    ()

    (Resources for the Future)

  • Nelson, Per-Kristian

    ()

    (Resources for the Future)

  • Safirova, Elena

    ()

    (Resources for the Future)

  • Mason, Dave
  • Gillingham, Kenneth

Economists have long advocated congestion pricing as an efficient way of allocating scarce roadway capacity. However, with a few exceptions, congestion tolls are rarely used in practice and strongly opposed by the public and elected officials. Although high implementation costs and privacy issues are alleviated as appropriate technologies are developed, the concerns that congestion pricing will adversely affect low-income travelers remain. In this paper, we use a strategic transportation planning model calibrated for the Washington, DC, metropolitan area to compare the welfare and distributional effects of three pricing schemes: value pricing (HOT lanes), limited congestion pricing, and comprehensive congestion pricing. We find that social welfare gains from HOT lanes amount to three-quarters of those from the comprehensive road pricing. At the same time, a HOT lanes policy turns out to be much more equitable than other road pricing schemes, with all income groups strictly benefiting even before the toll revenue is recycled.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-03-57.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2003
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-03-57
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  1. Ison, S., 2000. "Local authority and academic attitudes to urban road pricing: a UK perspective," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 269-277, October.
  2. Erik T. Verhoef, 2000. "Second-Best Congestion Pricing in General Networks - Algorithms for Finding Second-Best Optimal Toll Levels and Toll Points," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 00-084/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  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. 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.
  5. Parry, Ian, 2000. "Comparing the Efficiency of Alternative Policies for Reducing Traffic Congestion," Discussion Papers dp-00-28, Resources For the Future.
  6. Small, Kenneth & Yan, Jia, 2000. "The Value of "Value Pricing" of Roads: Second-Best Pricing and Product Differentiation," Discussion Papers dp-00-08, Resources For the Future.
  7. Parry, Ian W.H. & Bento, Antonio Miguel R., 1999. "Revenue recycling and the welfare effects of road pricing," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2253, The World Bank.
  8. Kenneth A. Small & Clifford Winston & Jia Yan, 2005. "Uncovering the Distribution of Motorists' Preferences for Travel Time and Reliability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(4), pages 1367-1382, 07.
  9. Small, Kenneth A., 1983. "The incidence of congestion tolls on urban highways," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 90-111, January.
  10. Erik T. Verhoef, 2000. "Second-Best Congestion Pricing in General Networks - Algorithms for Finding Second-Best Optimal Toll Levels and Toll Points," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 00-084/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  11. Verhoef, Erik T., 2002. "Second-best congestion pricing in general networks. Heuristic algorithms for finding second-best optimal toll levels and toll points," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 707-729, September.
  12. Krupnick, Alan & Harrington, Winston & Alberini, Anna, 1998. "Overcoming Public Aversion to Congestion Pricing," Discussion Papers dp-98-27, Resources For the Future.
  13. Small, Kenneth A., 1992. "Using the Revenues from Congestion Pricing," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt32p9m3mm, University of California Transportation Center.
  14. Vickrey, William S, 1969. "Congestion Theory and Transport Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 251-60, May.
  15. Gerard de Jong & Hugh Gunn, 2001. "Recent Evidence on Car Cost and Time Elasticities of Travel Demand in Europe," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, London School of Economics and University of Bath, vol. 35(2), pages 137-160, May.
  16. Mayeres, Inge & Proost, Stef, 1997. " Optimal Tax and Public Investment Rules for Congestion Type of Externalities," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(2), pages 261-79, June.
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