Transport Economics, Management and Policy series
Chapter 10: Congestion Pricing
INTRODUCTION Explaining the advantages of congestion pricing to a non-technical or even non-economist audience is difficult. The task is made more difficult by the choice of graphs and the assumptions used in the explanation. Often, the graphs do not permit the use of standard economic tools such as consumers’ surplus. The difficulty lies with the use of generalized cost and a revealed demand curve, rather than the use of a money cost and the multiple underlying demand curves reflecting different demands for road use at different levels of service. This chapter seeks a more straightforward development of the justification for congestion pricing from a graphical perspective. It then develops a more microscopic understanding, which will be important when considering compensation in the next chapter. Game theory has been applied to a number of issues involving the financing of transportation. In previous chapters, game theory was used to help understand how jurisdictions choose to finance their roads. This chapter considers its application to congestion and congestion pricing. While congestion is normally thought of as a phenomenon involving hundreds or thousands of vehicles, at its most basic, it simply involves two. Those two may want to use a facility that can only accommodate one at any given time, forcing the other to wait. If there were no penalty for arriving early or late, the individuals might coordinate their actions to arrive at different times. However, if there is an advantage to arrive a particular time (the cost of being early or late...
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