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Research Projects

STATUS: Complete YEAR: 2017 TOPIC AREA: Public transit, land use, and urban mobility CENTER: METRANS UTC PSR

Estimating the Social Cost of Congestion Using the Bottleneck Model

Project Summary

Project number: PSR-17-14
Funding source: US DOT
Contract number: DTRT13-G-UTC57
Funding amount: $52,724
Performance period: 9/1/2017 to 8/31/2018

Project description

This paper uses the Vickrey (1969) bottleneck model to empirically measure the social cost of traffic congestion in the US. We estimate extra travel time over and above hypothetical free-flow travel time, which we call "queuing time", for each average commute trip. Our estimate implies that the annual social cost of congestion borne by all US commuters is 24 billion dollars. A higher level of congestion in a city may be attributed to a smaller per capita road stock in the city. This paper also empirically quantifies the optimal toll depending both on the commuter's arrival time and residential location.


Jinwon Kim
Assistant Professor, Urban Economics, Transportation Economics, Economic Statistics
1250 Bellflower Boulevard
Long Beach, CA 90840
United States
[email protected]