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Does Supporting Passenger Railways Reduce Road Traffic Externalities?

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  • Rafael Lalive
  • Simon Luechinger
  • Armin Schmutzler

Abstract

Many governments subsidize regional rail service as an alternative to road traffic. This paper assesses whether increases in service frequency reduce road traffic externalities. We exploit differences in service frequency growth by procurement mode following a railway reform in Germany to address endogeneity of service growth. Increases in service frequency reduce the number of severe road traffic accidents, carbon monoxide, nitrogen monoxide, nitrogen dioxide pollution and infant mortality. Placebo regressions with sulfur dioxide and ozone yield no effect. Service frequency growth between 1994 and 2004 improves environmental quality by an amount that is worth approximately 28-40 % of total subsidies. An analysis of household behavior shows that the effects of railway services on outcome variables are driven by substitution from road to rail.

Suggested Citation

  • Rafael Lalive & Simon Luechinger & Armin Schmutzler, 2013. "Does Supporting Passenger Railways Reduce Road Traffic Externalities?," ECON - Working Papers 110, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:110
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Valeriia Budiakivska & Luca Casolaro, 2018. "Please in my back yard: the private and public benefits of a new tram line in Florence," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1161, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Beaudoin, Justin & Farzin, Y. Hossein & Lin Lawell, C.-Y. Cynthia, 2015. "Public transit investment and sustainable transportation: A review of studies of transit's impact on traffic congestion and air quality," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 15-22.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Railways; pollution; procurement; accidents;

    JEL classification:

    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy

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