Link Between Crowding Pricing and Seat Supply in Public Transport

Recent empirical research on crowding cost functions explored how passenger discomfort increases with the density of users on board. This paper investigates analytically how public transport providers can use this information in the optimization of crowding-related supply-side decisions. The optimal crowding surcharge, which is a part of the optimal fare, internalizes two types of external costs: seat occupancy externalities and density-based externalities. Applying the model on a realistic demand pattern based on smart card data the authors conclude that due to the complementary role of the two externalities the socially optimal average crowding surcharge is almost independent of density when all seats are occupied. However, the probability of finding a seat severely distorts the distribution of marginal external costs: those who board earlier impose significant external disutility costs on those who thus have to stand on subsequent crowded line sections. Therefore, in the ideal case fares should be differentiated between origin-destination markets, based on the probability of finding a seat. The authors show how operators can derive the optimal crowding surcharge for each origin-destination pair of a metro line.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee ABE20 Standing Committee on Transportation Economics.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Hörcher, Daniel
    • Graham, Daniel J
    • Anderson, Richard J
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2016


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 15p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 95th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01594836
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 16-2629
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Mar 30 2016 9:47AM