Great texts to put your kids to sleep.
Accessible online pieces for the lay person.
- Why You’ll Love Paying for Roads that Used to Be Free (2009). Eric A. Morris. Short, quick intro to the rationale for road pricing. From the Freaknomics Blog.
- Congestion Charges (2011). David Levinson. Uses graphs to make the economic case for congestion pricing quickly and readably. If you’re writing a report, this is a great place to start. From the excellent transportation economics Wikibook.
- The Discrete Charms of Congestion Pricing (2009). Lewis Lehe. A 5-page intro to congestion pricing with defenses against common criticisms. From Pitt Political Review.
- Why American Traffic Jams are like Soviet Breadlines (2009). Joe Cortwright. The eerie similarities between congestion and shortages in communist countries.
- Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Road Pricing? (2007). Dr. Robin Lindsey. The intellectual history of an idea. Highlights what points stir disagreement.
- Road Pricing and Public Transit: Unnoticed Lessons from London (2003) Dr. Kenneth Small. Road pricing and bus transit create a virtuous cycle:
- More expensive rush-hour road travel encourages use of alternatives, including mass transit. This builds the transit patronage needed for financial viability.
- Reduced automobile congestion speeds up transit vehicles sharing the streets with cars. This in turn creates two further favorable effects:
- Patronage is further encouraged because public transit is now faster.
- Higher speeds reduce costs to transit providers.
- Higher patronage and lower costs encourage transit providers to add service in the form of new routes, greater frequency, or both. Lower costs also encourage lower fares.
- Better and cheaper transit service further encourages patronage. More new riders are diverted from automobiles, thereby further reducing congestion.
This new patronage reinforces agency finances and service offerings; and so the circle continues.
The Behavioral Science of Transportation (2007) Dr. Daniel McFadden. Nobel laureate McFadden summarizes the history of transportation research and ends with a meditation on why voters hate road pricing:
Consumers show asymmetries, with losses from their reference points looming larger than gains, and future, uncertain, or ambiguous events heavily discounted relative to the present. For example, a majority of drivers queued on a congested highway have the perception that other lanes move more quickly than their own. This is caused by loss aversion, the fact that falling behind the truck one lane over is more noticeable and more painful than the satisfaction from gaining equivalent ground. This leads drivers, and consumers more generally, to mistrust proposed changes from their status quo, and to fear markets that confront them with these choices.