An Experimental Comparison of Track Allocation Mechanisms in the Railway Industry

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Gunnar Isacsson

The capacity of railway tracks is a scarce commodity that is, by nature, more complex than many other commodities. This paper presents results from a series of economic testbed experiments on the performance of different auctioning mechanisms for allocating track capacity between competing users. The auction mechanism will not only decide the price, it also serves to define the commodities (the particular departure–arrival time slots) demanded, and selects which of these are sold. Four combinations of pricing and stopping rules are compared. Realised allocations are very efficient for all four combinations and also generate approximately equal revenue. The research provides input for the process of re-regulating an industry undergoing profound institutional change.

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