Integrating congestion pricing, transit subsidies and mode choice

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - frequency, policy - congestion, policy - fares, economics - subsidy, mode - bus, mode - car


Transit subsidy, Congestion pricing, Downs-Thomson paradox, Mogridge paradox


We model and analyze optimal (welfare maximizing) prices and design of transport services in a bimodal context. Car congestion and transit design are simultaneously introduced and consumers choose based on the full price they perceive. The optimization variables are the congestion toll, the transit fare (and hence the level of subsidies) and transit frequency. We obtain six main results: (i) the optimal car-transit split is generally different from the total cost minimizing one; (ii) optimal congestion and transit price are interdependent and have an optimal frequency attached; (iii) the optimal money price difference together with the optimal frequency yield the optimal modal split; (iv) if this modal split is used in traditional stand-alone formulations – where each mode is priced independently–resulting congestion tolls and transit subsidies and fares are consistent with the optimal money price difference; (v) self-financing of the transport sector is feasible; and (vi) investment in car infrastructure induces an increase in generalized cost for all public transport users.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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