Assessing the Full Costs of Congestion on Surface Transportation Systems and Reducing them through Pricing

The nations transportation network is an essential component of economic growth and prosperity. In particular, roads and highways represent a vital element for automobile and freight truck transportation. Consequently, keeping traffic moving as efficiently as possible is an important contributor to the health of the economy. However, with demand for the existing surface transportation infrastructure exceeding capacity, delays in travel time is only one of the many symptoms of congestion. The effects of congestion are widespread and in addition to delays in travel time, stop-and-go traffic results in increased fuel consumption and to lost productivity and efficiency. It is therefore important to understand the magnitude of the congestion problem and its implications on the national economy as a first step toward identifying possible remedies. In order to allocate the limited roadway capacity among users, congestion pricing is frequently considered an efficient management technique, whereby roadway users are forced to choose between their need to travel and their willingness to pay to travel on certain portions of the road or at certain, high-demand times. While a number of studies have investigated the costs associated with road congestion, most have focused on two main issues, namely increased travel time and added fuel costs. While these two direct costs are understandably significant components, congestion generates a host of other costs that add to the extent of problem. Potential costs of congestion that have received much less attention are those related to increased unreliability, emissions and environmental damage, excess vehicle operating costs, loss of productivity, increased inventory costs as well as higher frequency of cargo delays.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Pagination: 98p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01150527
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Feb 12 2010 10:55AM