TOWARD BETTER URBAN TRANSPORT PRICING: USING WHAT IS KNOWN AND EXPLORING WHAT IS NOT KNOWN

This paper is directed to some concerns raised about the possible effects of road pricing on income distribution and on the existing pattern of activities, sale volumes, land values, and employment in the central area, particularly over the long run. In the author's opinion, a properly designed and implemented pricing scheme, would, contrary to the fears that have been expressed, increase rather than decrease activity and employment in the central area. Also, as is not the case with the present, more instances, from the poor would benefit, in most instances, from the improved accessibility and lower fares resulting from more rational pricing of private and public transportation. Because of the great uncertainty over whether the possible benefits are worth the political risks required of those making the key decisions, if new approaches to pricing are initiated, federal support may be necessary to encourage a demonstration of a restraint scheme representing a major departure from past tradition with potential for large gains nationally. Initially, it might be advisible to have a fairly simple program rather than a very elaborate one, so as to avoid a situation where ends (e.g. greater efficiency, reduced travel times, improved environment quality) are confused with means (i.e. pricing). In some instances, physical restraints might prove more efficient than pricing schemes. The need is felt for research on the price and service elasticities of travel demand of much wider scope than the many local studies that have been done so far. There is also a need for new institutional approaches since, while planning and implementation can only be done at the local level, the type of basic research necessary to improve analytical tools and the dissemination of improved methodologies, information, and data can only be done at the federal level.

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    • This article appeared in Transportation Research Board Special Report No. 181, Urban Transportation Economics. It contains proceedings of Five Workshops on Pricing Atternatives, Economic Regulations, Labor Issues, Marketing, and Government Financing Responsibilities held by Transportation Research Board. Sponsored by Office of the Secretary, Federal Highway Administration, and Urban Mass Transportation Administration of DOT; Environmental Protection Agency; and Federal Energy Administration.
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    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Kain, John F
  • Publication Date: 1978

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  • Accession Number: 00176492
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Nov 14 1981 12:00AM