A game theoretic approach to study the impact of transportation policies on the competition between transit and private car in the urban context

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, ridership - mode choice, ridership - modelling, ridership - demand, policy


Policy analysis, Public transportation, Private car, Modal competition, Game theory


This paper proposes a spatial gaming model to characterize the mode choice behavior of travelers on a corridor connecting a suburban neighborhood to the central business district. Previous game theoretic studies typically incorporate a discrete choice model into the gaming structure to observe travelers’ mode choice behavior. The novelty of the proposed model revolves around incorporating parking operator into the gaming structure. We also present a model extension accounting for the heterogeneity in travelers’ income. The parking operator and transit agency, as the two players of the game, seek to obtain a greater market share by controlling their prices. The nature of the transit agency as a (pseudo) public authority is modeled by letting the player maximize a weighted sum of profit and consumer surplus. The private parking operator, on the other hand, is a profit maximizer. With the out-of-pocket cost, generalized travel time, and disutilities other than time in the utility function of travelers, this gaming model enable us to evaluate the impact on auto-transit competition of a wide range of urban policies. A corridor in Isfahan, Iran is considered to demonstrate the applicability of the proposed model. Eight travel demand management policies are examined. We see that restrictive policies (e.g., cordon pricing) typically reduce the total demand while encouraging policies (e.g., improving transit access time by integrating transit with a bike-sharing system) increase it. The most effective policies are found to be hybrid policies such as increasing auto travel time coupled with lowering transit in-vehicle travel time.


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


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