Does improving public transport decrease car ownership? Evidence from a residential sorting model for the Copenhagen metropolitan area

Ismir Mulalic*, Jan Rouwendal

*Corresponding author for this work

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Car ownership is lower in urban areas, where public transport is of high quality. This suggests that better public transport offers the possibility to relieve the many problems (congestion, pollution, and parking) associated with the presence of cars in urban areas. To investigate this issue, we develop a model for the simultaneous choice of residential location and car ownership by households, and estimate it on Danish data, paying special attention to accessibility of the metro network. We use the estimated model to simulate the impact of an extension of the metro network. We show that for the Greater Copenhagen Area an extension of the metro network decreases car ownership by 2–3%, while the average compensating variation is approximately 3% of household income.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103543
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalRegional Science and Urban Economics
Early online date14 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


Earlier versions of the paper have been presented at ITEA conference in Oslo, the workshop on New Developments in Spatial Sorting in Copenhagen, the 62nd Annual North American Meetings of the Regional Science (RSAI) and 10th Meeting of the Urban Economics Association, the 56th ERSA Congress, University of Cergy-Pontoise, University of Copenhagen, University of Edinburgh, SFI - The Danish National Centre for Social Research, University of Valencia, TU Dresden, Copenhagen Business School and at VU Amsterdam. The authors thank Ninette Pilegaard, Thomas Crossley, Gerard de Jong, Dennis Epple, Bo Honoré, Nicolai Kuminoff, Lars Nesheim, Henry Overman, Chris Timmins, two anonymous referees and Gabriel Ahlfeldt (the editor) for useful suggestions on earlier drafts. They are grateful to Statistics Denmark for providing the data. Research support from Kraks Fond– Institute for Urban Economic Research, Copenhagen ( ) is gratefully acknowledged. The usual disclaimer applies

FundersFunder number
Kraks Fond– Institute for Urban Economic Research
University of Cergy-Pontoise
Urban Economics Association
Copenhagen Business School
University of Edinburgh
Science Foundation Ireland
Københavns Universitet
Technische Universität Dresden
Universitat de València


    • Car ownership
    • Cost-benefit analysis
    • Public transport
    • Residential sorting


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