Transportation Economics - Transportation Economics...

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Transportation Economics Transportation Economics: Overview of Traffic Congestion And Economics of Road Pricing: A Conceptual Analysis Introduction 1
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Transportation Economics Mobility, and the transportation infrastructure needed to enable it, is foundational to American culture and economic activity, and one of the hallmarks of modernity is the relative ease of acquiring automobiles. Coupled with this is the effect of rapidly increasing population in major cities that has led to the development of suburban settlements far away from centers of commercial activities. With industrialization and localization of industries, movement of freight is mostly by trucks. The attendant outcome of all these is the high rate of mobility, which has led to a spiraling pressure and congestion on transportation infrastructures, especially road transportation. Traffic congestion on the highway is occurs when traffic demand approaches or exceeds the available capacity of the highway system. Though this concept is easy to understand, congestion can vary significantly from day to day because traffic demand and available highway capacity are constantly changing. Traffic demands vary significantly by time of day, day of the week, and season of the year, and subject to significant fluctuations due to recreational travel, special events, and emergencies (e.g. evacuations). Available highway capacity, which is often view as being fix, also varies constantly, being frequently reduced by incidents (e.g. crashes and disabled vehicles), work zones, adverse weather, and other causes (Federal Highway Administration, 2009a). Demand for highway travel by Americans continues to grow as population increases, particularly in metropolitan areas. Construction of new highway capacity to accommodate this growth in travel has not kept pace. Between 1980 and 1999, route miles of highways increased 1.5 percent while vehicle miles of travel increased 76 percent. The Texas Transportation Institute estimates that, in 2003, the 85 largest metropolitan areas experienced 3.7 billion vehicle-hours of delay, resulting in 2.3 billion gallons in wasted fuel and a congestion cost of $63 billion (Annual Urban Mobility Report, 2009). In addition, traffic volumes are project to continue growing. The volume of freight movement alone is to nearly double by 2020. Congestion may be as a big city problem, but delays are becoming increasingly common in small cities and some rural areas as well. In 2003, over 62,800 kilometers (39,000 miles) of highways in the United States had peak period congestion, and of these, over 10,900 kilometers (6,800 miles) were in rural areas (FHWA, 2009b). 2
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Transportation Economics Despite American’s history of sustained investment to create and maintain what is the most extensive system of roads and bridges in the world, our mobility and economic productivity is been eroded by traffic congestion at an alarming rate. Suburbanization and urban sprawl continue apace (Lewis and Williams 1999).
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2011 for the course TRANSPORTA TLMT601 taught by Professor Darlenebutler during the Fall '10 term at American Public University.

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Transportation Economics - Transportation Economics...

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