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Does Public Transit reduce Car Travel Externalities?

Author

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  • Martin W. Adler

    (VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

  • Jos N. van Ommeren

    (VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

Abstract

One of the main unanswered questions in the field of urban economics is to which extent subsidies to public transit are justified. We examine one of the main benefits of public transit, a reduction in car congestion externalities, the so-called congestion relief benefit, using quasi-natural experimental data on citywide public transit strikes for Rotterdam. On weekdays, a strike induces car speed to decrease only marginally on the highway ring road (by 3 percent) but substantially on inner city roads (by 10 percent). During rush hour, the strike effect is much more pronounced. The congestion relief benefit is substantial, equivalent to about half of the public transit subsidy. We demonstrate that during weekends, car speed does not change noticeable due to strikes. Further, we show that public transit strikes induce similar increases in number of cyclists as number of car travelers suggesting that bicycling-promoting policies to reduce car congestion externalities might be attractive.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin W. Adler & Jos N. van Ommeren, 2015. "Does Public Transit reduce Car Travel Externalities?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-011/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20150011
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    Cited by:

    1. Adler, Martin W. & van Ommeren, Jos N., 2016. "Does public transit reduce car travel externalities? Quasi-natural experiments' evidence from transit strikes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 106-119.
    2. Stefan Bauernschuster & Timo Hener & Helmut Rainer, 2017. "When Labor Disputes Bring Cities to a Standstill: The Impact of Public Transit Strikes on Traffic, Accidents, Air Pollution, and Health," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 1-37, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    transit subsidies; public transit; traffic congestion; congestion relief benefit; strike;

    JEL classification:

    • H76 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Other Expenditure Categories
    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
    • L92 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Railroads and Other Surface Transportation
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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