Incentives for Reduction of Peak-Hour Traffic Congestion: Models, Costs and Optimal Transport

This paper studies the feasibility of using incentives to shift commuters' travel times to mitigate peak-hour traffic congestion. The cost of congestion is assumed to be proportional to the total extra time vehicles spend on the highway due to congestion. A fluid model of traffic flow is used to analyze this congestion. The cost of shifting start times is also proportional to the amount of time shifted. The authors show that both these costs can be expressed in terms of the Wasserstein distance (also known as the earth mover's distance) between measures on the real line. This fact is used to formulate a linear optimization problem for determining the optimal way to shift users from peak to off-peak hours using incentives so that total costs are lowered. A simple example shows that the cost reduction with complete participation in the incentive scheme can be more than 55%.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee ABE25 Standing Committee on Congestion Pricing.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

  • Authors:
    • Mandayam, Chinmoy V
    • Prabhakar, Balaji
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2019


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 19p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01697939
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 19-01942
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Mar 1 2019 3:51PM