Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Transport Economics and Policy

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Transport Economics and Policy

Handbooks of Research Methods and Applications series

Edited by Chris Nash

Transport economics and policy analysis is a field which has seen major advances in methodology in recent decades, covering issues such as estimating cost functions, modelling of demand, dealing with externalities, examining industry ownership and structure, pricing and investment decisions and measuring economic impacts. This Handbook contains reviews of all these methods, with an emphasis on practical applications, commissioned from an international cast of experts in the field.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chris Nash

Subjects: economics and finance, transport, environment, research methods in the environment, transport, research methods, research methods in economics, research methods in the environment, urban and regional studies, research methods in urban and regional studies, transport


Why a handbook on methodology for transport economics and policy? It is a reasonable question. Transport economics is an application of economics so surely the methodology is simply that of economics? To a degree that is true, but transport as a product has various characteristics which require careful attention if misleading conclusions are to be avoided. Transport is a derived demand, which is in general only valued for the activities it makes possible. It is a service, which is non storable (if it is not sold when produced then it is simply wasted in the form of empty capacity). Much transport is produced on own account (private motoring and own account road haulage) and even when it is not, it involves a substantial input of the user’s own time and effort. It is subject to economies of scale and scope, particularly in the infrastructure but also in the services themselves: increases in frequency, other things being equal, provide more capacity but also a better service as passengers or freight can be moved at a time nearer their ideal. But the infrastructure and services do provide numerous distinct products in the form of transport between a particular origin and destination at a particular time.