Optimal Pricing for Departure Time Choice Problems with Unknown Preference and Demand: Trial-and-error Approach

The trial-and-error approach for congestion pricing finds the optimal toll based only on observable information (e.g., travel time, traffic state) without information on travelers’ personal preferences that are often unobservable in practice (e.g., value of time, demand function). This feature makes the method practically useful by solving the well-known issue of “information asymmetry” between the system administrator and the consumers. This paper proposes trial-and-error schemes for the departure time choice problem (also known as the morning commute problem and Vickrey’s bottleneck model). The authors theoretically show that their proposed schemes find the optimal toll in some standard departure time choice problems. Specifically, following cases are considered: fine toll for the homogeneous α–β–γ case, fine toll for the homogeneous case with a non-linear waiting time cost function or a non-linear schedule cost function, and coarse tolling for the homogeneous case with elastic demand. For the first problem, their scheme finds the exact optimal fine toll by one trial. For the second problem, their scheme finds the approximate optimal fine toll by one trial. For the last problem, their scheme converges to the social optimal state fairly quickly.

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

    Transportation Research Board

  • Authors:
    • Seo, Toru
    • Yin, Yafeng
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2019


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 16p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01697951
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 19-01472
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Mar 1 2019 3:51PM