Congestion tolling in the bottleneck model with heterogeneous values of time

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When analysing the effects of transport policies it is important to adequately control for heterogeneity: previous studies note that ignoring heterogeneity biases the estimated welfare effects of tolling. This paper examines the effects of tolling, in a bottleneck model, with a continuously distributed value of time. With homogeneous users, first-best public tolling has no effect on prices. With heterogeneity it does: low values of time lose, and high values of time gain. The average congestion externality decreases with the heterogeneity in the value of time. Consequently, the welfare gain of first-best tolling also decreases. The more heterogeneous the value of time is, the lower the relative efficiency of a public pay-lane. This finding contrasts with the previous literature. Earlier studies, using static flow congestion, conclude that the relative efficiency increases with this type of heterogeneity. With more heterogeneity in the value of time, the relative efficiency of a private pay-lane is also lower, while that of a public time-invariant toll is higher. Our results suggest that the welfare gains of different tolling schemes are affected differently by heterogeneity. Further, the impact of heterogeneity on the effects of a policy also depends on the type of congestion considered. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-78
JournalTransportation Research. Part B: Methodological
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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