Allocation of track capacity: Experimental Evidence on the Use of Priority Auctioning in the Railway Industry

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Allocation of track capacity concerns multiple users facing demand indivisibilities, running trains over an inelastic supply of railway tracks. The paper suggests a Vickrey-type mechanism to handle incentive aspects of this technically complex optimisation task. Here, the price for operating a train will correspond to the bids foregone by other operators who are pushed off their preferred routes. The paper reports the results of 11 experimental markets using variations of this mechanism where each market includes up to 10 trading periods, and subjects bid for routes over a highly stylised railway network. The experiments generated solutions that capture 90–100% of potential benefits.

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