Edited by Michiel Bliemer, Corinne Mulley and Claudine J. Moutou
Chapter 13: Transport economics and pricing
Issues concerning transportation have attracted interests of economists for well over 100 years. Jules Dupuit, who is widely credited with the development of consumer surplus and marginal pricing as concrete concepts, used the provision of bridges as an example to illustrate the application of those concepts back in the mid-nineteenth century (Dupuit 1849 ). In addition to some unique characteristics (such as transport being a derived demand, see section 3.1) associated with transporting goods and people that make it a topic of interest to theorists, there are practical reasons for transport to be a long-standing subject of planning and policy studies. Table 13.1 shows the average shares of transport within household expenditures and of the gross domestic products (GDP) attributed to transportation, storage and communication activities for selected countries. In terms of the contribution to the value added, transportation, storage and communication typically accounts for around 6 to 10 percent of the total, which makes it not the largest contributor to the nation’s GDP, but certainly an important one. However, the true importance of transport to the economy, as noted by Dupuit and widely understood by policy makers today, is that greater efficiency in moving goods and people increase productivity and economic competitiveness.
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