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The New Italian Road Code and the virtues of the ‘shame lane’


  • Matteo Richiardi

    (LABORatorio Revelli Centre for Employment Studies)


In July 2003 a new Road Code was approved by the Italian parliament. Among many reforms whose validity is not questioned here, the new law states that on three-lane motorways the right lane should not be reserved anymore to slow vehicles alone. As in two-lane roads, all vehicles must now drive on the right lane, as long as it is not occupied by other vehicles. The model developed in this paper casts doubts on the validity of such a change, suggesting that the old rule generally performs better, in terms of number of accidents, average speed and motorway capacity, than the new one. This conclusion is shown to be extremely robust to refinements of the main assumptions concerning driving attitudes and the stochastic arrival of accidents.

Suggested Citation

  • Matteo Richiardi, 2004. "The New Italian Road Code and the virtues of the ‘shame lane’," Computational Economics 0401002, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpco:0401002
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; prepared on WinXP; pages: 21

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Arnott, Richard & de Palma, Andre & Lindsey, Robin, 1990. "Economics of a bottleneck," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 111-130, January.
    2. Vickrey, William S, 1969. "Congestion Theory and Transport Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 251-260, May.
    3. F. H. Knight, 1924. "Some Fallacies in the Interpretation of Social Cost," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(4), pages 582-606.
    4. Elliott Peranson & Alvin E. Roth, 1999. "The Redesign of the Matching Market for American Physicians: Some Engineering Aspects of Economic Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 748-780, September.
    5. Gipps, P. G., 1986. "A model for the structure of lane-changing decisions," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 403-414, October.
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    More about this item


    Traffic; Simulation; Italian Road Code;

    JEL classification:

    • C8 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs

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