Public transport and road pricing: a survey and simulation experiments

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - growth, ridership - mode choice, planning - travel demand management, mode - mass transit, ridership - modelling, place - europe, economics - pricing


public transport, road pricing, consumer demand system, simulation


This paper examines the interrelationships between public transport and road pricing at both theoretical and empirical grounds. First, the main decision parameters of the interplay between road pricing and public transport are reviewed and appropriate methodological approaches are identified. A set of policies which aim at improving urban public transport ridership and reducing private vehicle use, are considered on the basis of a flexible consumer demand system and evaluated through simulation experiments. The experiments focus on the hypothetical implementation of a national distance-based road charging policy package in Greece. The simulation results indicate that a suitably designed policy package can significantly enhance modal split in favor of public transport without significantly increasing the level of road user charges. To be more specific, for a nation-wide scheme, a combination of an optimal vehicle-km charge (in terms of the optimal fuel price index share required to achieve the desired urban public transport expenditure share) with a half-fare policy results in a considerable reduction of the private vehicle expenditure share, but with a much lower level of road user charge. For the highly urbanized region of Attica, the imposition of the optimal vehicle-km charge per se (without affecting urban transit fares) can provide the largest benefits, in terms of considerably reducing private vehicle share and attaining the target level of urban public transport share.


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