TOWARD IMPROVED URBAN TRANSPORT PRICING: SOME THOUGHTS ON NEXT STEPS

While improving the short-run economic efficiency of a transport system is often cited in the economic literature as reasons for shifts in pricing policy, in cities where major pricing shifts have occured, the stated goals had much broader social policy implications than simple single-mode efficiency. Therefore, impacts of pricing ancillary from a theoretical viewpoint may be of dominant importance in terms of policy acceptability. In terms of future research, greater emphasis should be placed on the identification and description of administrative difficulties, mode and route diversion, changes in peak timing and duration, and other descriptive measures, so that practitioners can better judge for themselves the net benefits of pricing schemes. However, no amount of paper research will satisfactorily answer certain questions (which are sources of great political risk) about possible effects on business viability, essential mobility, transport system disruption, and social welfare in general. A federally funded demonstration catch on. Existing transportation charges (e.g., transit fares, bridge tolls, gas taxes, parking fees, etc.) offer a more readily available way to increase the effectiveness of pricing instruments than do more radical new charges, although the disruptive effect of the latter can be minimized by their being introduced gradually. While urban transport pricing currently has little public support, it may become more acceptable if urban population and automobile use continue to increase. The federal government should plan for the contingency by continuing and extending its research on the wide range of effects implicit in urban transportation pricing changes.

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    • This paper appeared in Transportation Research Board Special Report No. 181, Urban Transportation Economics. It contains proceedings of Five Workshops on Pricing Alternatives, 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:
    • Kulash, Damian J
  • Publication Date: 1978

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  • Accession Number: 00176493
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Nov 14 1981 12:00AM