Congestion in a city with a central bottleneck

Mogens Fosgerau, André de Palma

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    We consider dynamic congestion in an urban setting where trip origins are spatially distributed. All travelers must pass through a downtown bottleneck in order to reach their destination in the CBD. Each traveler chooses departure time to maximize general concave scheduling utility. We find that, at equilibrium, travelers sort according to their distance to the destination; the queue is always unimodal regardless of the spatial distribution of trip origins. We construct a welfare maximizing tolling regime, which eliminates congestion. All travelers located beyond a critical distance from the CBD gain from tolling, even when toll revenues are not redistributed, while nearby travelers lose. We discuss our results in the context of acceptability of tolling policies.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Urban Economics
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)269-277
    Publication statusPublished - May 2012

    Bibliographical note

    We thank Richard Arnott as well as the editor Robert Helsley and two referees for very insightful comments.
    Mogens Fosgerau is funded by the Danish Council for Strategic Research. Support is gratefully acknowledged from PREDIT and ADEME grants to project ”Tarification des Transports Individuels et Collectifs à Paris: Dynamique de l’acceptabilité”.
    The opinions and conclusionsexpressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the Ministère de l’Ecologie, de l’Energie, du Développement durable et de la Mer. This paper has been screened to make sure that no confidential information has been disclosed by the authors.


    • Spatial differentiation
    • Acceptability
    • Dynamic model
    • Toll policy


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