Congestion Costs and Road Capacity. Implications for Policy-makers

The Conference Board of Canada, 90 pages, November 18, 2016
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Road congestion in many Canadian cities has a negative impact on our economy and quality of life. Through a literature and policy review, this report helps to inform the broader policy debate by examining some of the key concepts related to congestion. Implications and opportunities for further research are also considered.

Document Highlights

There is considerable debate about how much congestion we have on our roads, the extent of its negative impact, and who is most affected by it.

As a complement to their earlier report, the authors of Congestion Costs, Road Capacity, and Implications for Policy-Makers examine some of the key concepts related to road congestion, to help inform the broader policy debate. These concepts include the purpose of user charges and impacts on scheme design, the measurement of congestion and its costs, and the case for direct charges for road use and other congestion reduction strategies.
Implications and opportunities for further research are also considered.

Table of Contents

Untitled Document

Executive Summary

Chapter 1–Introduction

Chapter 2–Why Do We Care About the Cost of Driving and How Much Should Users Pay?

  • Road Costs From User, Government, and Societal Perspectives
  • The Significance of Subsidies and Externalities
  • Costs Versus Fees and Charges
  • Conclusion

Chapter 3–Measuring Congestion and Its Costs

  • Measuring Congestion
  • Congestion Versus Commute Times
  • Conclusion

Chapter 4–Direct Charges for Road Use and Other Congestion Remedies

  • The Case for Direct Charges
  • Congestion Remedies Beyond Direct Charges
  • Conclusion

Chapter 5–Conclusions and Observations

  • Three Roles for User Charges
  • Clarifying the Purpose of and Justification for New Fees
  • Who Benefits and by How Much?
  • Congestion and Commute Times
  • Other Policies to Reduce Congestion
  • Congestion Costs in the Context of Full Costs and Revenue Neutrality
  • The “Permanence” of Road Capacity
  • Further Implications for Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix A–Bibliography

    Appendix B–Congestion and the Inefficient Use of Road Infrastructure

    Appendix C–The Evolution of the Case for Direct Charges

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