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Big Data and Innovations In Urban Mobility

Paper Session

Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM (EST)

Hosted By: American Economic Association
  • Chair: Andrew Waxman, University of Texas-Austin

Peak-Hour Road Congestion Pricing: Experimental Evidence and Equilibrium Implications

Gabriel Kreindler
,
Harvard University

Abstract

Developing country megacities suffer from severe road traffic congestion. While the textbook policy response to traffic externalities is congestion pricing, it is unclear whether such cities also have substantially inefficient traffic, given their level of infrastructure. I study the peak-hour traffic congestion equilibrium in Bangalore. To measure travel preferences, I use a model of departure time choice to design a field experiment with congestion pricing policies and implement it using precise GPS driving behavior data. The two policies incentivize shifting trip departure times away from the peak and using longer routes. Commuter responses in the experiment reveal moderate schedule flexibility and a high value of time. I then use the GPS data to measure the externality. Traffic volume has a moderate and linear impact on average trip duration, consistent with relatively low marginal externalities in urban road networks like Bangalore's. Policy simulations with equilibrium optimal congestion charges reveal small travel time benefits and negligible commuter welfare gains. This result is driven by the shape of the externality rather than commuter schedule inflexibility. I discuss implications for urban road infrastructure investment.

Our Uber Has Arrived: Ridesharing and the Redistribution of Economic Activity

Caitlin Gorback
,
National Bureau of Economic Research

Abstract

This paper studies how improvements in local accessibility influence cities' distributions of economic activity. Exploiting UberX's entry interacted with a location's prior accessibility, I measure how local economic activity responds to changes in access. After ridesharing's entry, restaurant net creation doubles in previously inaccessible locations, from 5% to 10%. As these areas open up and become more attractive, the median house price rises by 4% and rents rise by 1%. I quantify the impacts of these changes on welfare using a spatial equilibrium framework. Resident welfare depends on the trade-off between accessibility and amenity benefits versus housing costs. In the post-period, all residents benefit from ridesharing's entry. Homeowners are willing to pay $1,060 per year for ridesharing's entry, as user costs fall. Renters are willing to pay $430, as they do not realize capital gains.

Life in the Slow Lane: Unintended Consequences of Public Transit in Jakarta

Arya Gaduh
,
University of Arkansas
Tadeja Gracner
,
Rand Corporation
Alexander Rothenberg
,
Syracuse University

Abstract

We use detailed trip-level data between 2002 and 2010 to study how TransJakarta, one of the world's largest BRT systems, affected commuting in Jakarta, Indonesia. Using planned lines that were not built by 2010, we identify the impact of station proximity on commuting. We find that proximity neither reduced vehicle ownership nor travel times. Instead, the BRT exacerbated congestion along service corridors. To uncover mechanisms behind low ridership, we estimate an equilibrium model of commuting choices with endogenous commuting times. Counterfactual simulations indicate that implementation improvements, including faster buses and a larger network, would have significantly increased BRT demand.

The Value of Urgency

Antonio M. Bento
,
University of Southern California
Kevin Roth
,
Laurits R. Christensen Associates
Andrew Waxman
,
University of Texas-Austin

Abstract

Neoclassical microeconomic theory postulates that the value of time is a fraction of an individual’s hourly wage. When taken to the marketplace, however, this value appears to depart from theoretical predictions. To reconcile them, we conceptualize the value of urgency, which reflects penalties for lateness. Observing users repeatedly entering tolled lanes in freeways, we estimate individual hedonic price functions, and show that the value of urgency accounts for 87 percent of total willingness-to-pay for time savings. We document how traditional approaches for cost-benefit analysis fail to detect this benefit, underestimating the true value projects deliver to a large number of individuals.
Discussant(s)
Victor Couture
,
University of California-Berkeley
Antonio M. Bento
,
University of Southern California
Michael Anderson
,
University of California-Berkeley
Spencer Banzhaf
,
Georgia State University
JEL Classifications
  • R4 - Transportation Economics
  • L9 - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities