Real cost of car travel and congestion pricing

This paper describes a spreadsheet model for the calculation of the real or social cost of travel by private cars. The model produces approximate but robust estimates of the impacts of travel demand management (TDM) measures at a citywide level. The prototype model is used to study the congestion costs in Australian cities. This paper also addresses the issue of whether a car user has adequately paid for his own private cost of travel and the social costs that include: government infrastructure provision, congestion delay, accident, air and noise pollution costs. It makes use of routinely collected road demand data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and traffic data from the state road and transport authorities. The model estimates that the total congestion bill of all capital cities is about $5.1 billion per year in 1992 prices. The estimates agree well with those from more detailed network models. The model also estimates that the amount paid by a car user in Melbourne, on average, is adequate to cover the social cost of travel. The perceived cost of private car travel is likely to be just the fuel plus delay cost, estimated to be 10 to 13 cents/km, which is only 30 per cent of the social cost of about 37 cents/km. As marginal congestion cost is higher than the average cost, this percentage will be even lower in peak hours. There is therefore an urgent need to raise the awareness of the social cost of car travel amongst road users.

  • Authors:
    • Luk, J
    • Hepburn, S
    • Thoresen, T
  • Publication Date: 1995-12


  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01435639
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Aug 24 2012 7:09PM