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Reforming Transport Pricing in the European Union

A Modelling Approach

Edited by Bruno De Borger and Stef Proost

This timely book deals with the problem of pricing passenger and freight transportation within Europe. The contributors argue that current legislation affecting pricing and regulation is increasingly less successful in dealing with market failures and externalities such as congestion, air pollution, noise and accidents. Technological progress and greater European co-operation has brought increased scope for the reform of transport policies.
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Chapter 15: Evaluating pricing policies for interregional transport in Belgium

Bruno De Borger


Bruno De Borger 15.1 INTRODUCTION The purpose of this chapter is to study the welfare implications of various transport pricing and regulatory policies in Belgium for the reference year 2005. An integrated transport policy is highly desirable: although a large number of specific measures have been implemented (promotion of carpooling, public transport subsidies, investment in infrastructure, and so on), congestion and accident rates on the Belgian road system remain substantial. High congestion is common during peak hours on the major highways linking the most important urban centres (Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent) as well as on a large number of other secondary routes. Moreover, some sections of the network are congested even during the off-peak period. Accident rates have been stabilising in recent years, but the external costs associated with accidents remain high. Since the Belgian economy is a small, open economy in the heart of Europe characterised by very intense trade flows with other member states of the European Union, it seemed useful to take account of at least some of the international dimensions of transport flows in the design of pricing policies in Belgium. The international component creates a number of complications that were captured in the modelling exercises in the simplest possible way. For example, since a non-negligible share of all (especially freight) flows on Belgian territory consists of international transport and pure transit, a substantial fraction of external congestion, accident and pollution costs in Belgium is generated by foreign transport firms. Moreover, it is well known...

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